Mohali, April 8: KL Rahul smashed the fastest fifty (off 14 deliveries) in the history of the Indian Premier League (IPL) as Kings XI Punjab defeated Delhi Daredevils by 6 wickets in their opening encounter of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2018 here on Sunday (April 8).
Coming out to chase a decent target of 167, Rahul looked in ominous form as he smacked Delhi bowlers from the word go. Hitting at an incredible strike rate of 319, Rahul plundered Delhi bowlers all over. His 16-ball innings was laced with six fours and four sixes before he was dismissed on a full toss by Trent Boult in the fourth over.
After Rahul's dismissal in the powerplay, his Karnataka teammate Karun Nair ensured the team doesn't lose momentum and kept the scored board ticking. Nair slammed a breezy half-century and never let his side get off course in the run chase. Nair smashed 50 off 33 (5X4, 2X6) before he was dismissed by Daniel Christian while trying to hit him over the fence.
Later, Marcus Stoinis (22* off 15) and David Miller (23* off 22) ensured the hosts reach home comfortably with 7 balls to spare. However, veteran Yuvraj Singh, who is making a comeback to the franchise after a gap of eight years had a frustrating game. He scored 12 off 22 balls before getting dismissed.
Wow, that is some start from KL Rahul, making a statement about where he should bat!— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) April 8, 2018
If Punjab bowlers had a decent outing into the middle, same couldn't be said for Delhi bowlers as they leaked runs. None of the Delhi bowlers managed to put pressure on opposition batsmen as they kept scoring easily. Amit Mishra had a forgettable outing in the middle as he was hammered for 24 runs by Rahul in his first over and ended up leaking 46 from his quota of 4 overs. Mohammed Shami was the costliest of Delhi bowlers as he conceded 26 from his 2 overs.
Delhi Daredevils skipper Gautam Gambhir led his side from the front but couldn't get a decent contribution from the rest of the batsmen as they posted 166/7 against a spirited bowling attack from Kings XI Punjab in their opening Indian Premier League (IPL) 2018 game here on Sunday (April 8).
Gambhir noted up his IPL career's 36th half-century before getting run out. A gritty knock from the left-handed opener and cameos from Rishabh Pant (28 off 13) and Chris Morris (27 off 16) helped Delhi post a respectable total. Punjab bowlers, however, did a decent job and restricted the visitors from posting a huge total.
Debutant Mujeeb Ur Rahman (2/28) was the pick of the bowlers for Punjab as the 17-year-old spinner from Afghanistan kept things tight for the visitors. The Afghan became the youngest cricketer to make his IPL debut and impressed in his very first match. Rahman got rid of Colin Munro (4) on the third ball of his first over. He even affected a brilliant run out of dangerous looking Gambhir for 55 with his direct hit.
Skipper Ashwin was equally good with the ball as he bowled miserly. The Tamil Nadu off-spinner, leading his team from the front, bowled the first over and finished his quota of 4 overs by conceding just 23 runs and bagged a wicket.
Ashwin must also be commended for his bowling changes and brilliant fielding placements which prevented Delhi from posting a huge total. At one stage, the visitors seemed headed towards somewhere near 180 but Ashwin operated his spinners wisely as they kept things tight for the visitors.
Pacer Mohit Sharma was once again played his part brilliantly as he bagged two wickets from his quota of 4 overs and conceded at 8 runs per over. Axar Patel, however, didn't have a memorable outing as he leaked 35 from his three overs. The left-handed spinner was targetted by Gambhir in the very first over he was introduced.
Barring Gambhir, no other Delhi batsman lived up to the expectations as they kept losing wickets at regular intervals. Pant, however, started his innings aggressively and looked dangerous but he didn't stay long at the crease.
Morris (27* off 16), however, played a cameo to take his team to a respectable total. But that wasn't enough for them to defend.
Earlier, Punjab skipper R Ashwin won the toss in his first match as captain and invited Delhi Daredevils to bat first. Ashwin showed no qualms after the coin landed in his favour and immediately opted to chase because teams chasing have done well at Punjab Cricket Association Stadium, Mohali.