KL Rahul, the captain of Kings XI Punjab, recorded the highest-ever score by an Indian batsman in IPL history as he led Punjab to a comfortable victory over Virat Kohli-led Royal Challengers Bangalore. Rahul, in his second outing as skipper, is now the quickest Indian batsman to score 2000 runs in IPL, breaking the record of former Mumbai Indians’ captain, Sachin Tendulkar.
Rahul, who had made his IPL debut for Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in 2013, breached the 2k-mark during the league stage match this week. He took 60 innings to score 2000 runs. He was dropped twice by Kohli before going on to smash an unbeaten 132 off just 69 deliveries – the first century of the 2020 season – to help Punjab post a massive 206 for three and a 97-run win.
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“It was good to be in the middle and see the team through whatever we’d planned before the game,” Rahul said. “I think it’s as complete a team performance as it can get, really happy.” Rahul had a disappointing start to his career. He only managed 20 runs in five matches in IPL 2013, while in 2014 for Sunrisers Hyderabad, Rahul scored 166 runs in 11 matches. In 2015, Rahul only managed 142 runs.
The right-handed batsman returned to RCB for IPL 2016 and scored 387 runs at 146.49 and missed the tournament in 2017 due to injury. Rahul was bought by Kings XI Punjab for Rs 11 crore in 2018, which was also the peak of his career. He made a remarkable start to his innings at KXIP and registered the quickest half-century in the history of IPL in his maiden outing for them.
Tendulkar, who achieved the same milestone in 63 innings, held the record for a long time. After the game, Kohli acknowledged that he did not have the “best day of the office”. The RCB captain said, “Maybe if we restricted them to under 180, we wouldn’t have been under pressure… from ball one to chase close to 210.”
During the game, players from both teams wore black armbands to honour the sudden passing of Australian batsman and cricket commentator Dean Jones, who had been covering the Indian Premier League from Mumbai, from a heart attack. In a pre-match show, fellow commentator and Australian Brett Lee praised the 59-year-old as an “absolute legend”
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