In the previous match against Sunrisers Hyderabad, KL Rahul made a brilliant 51 off 28 balls, but Royal Challengers Bangalore still lost. In the previous game against Gujarat Lions, the Karnataka opener batted down the order, scoring 51 not out off 35 balls. RCB lost that game too despite putting 180 on the board. On Monday, Rahul scored his third half-century in a row, after Chris Gayle fell early.
Rahul’s brilliant 52 laid a solid foundation for RCB. Again, with skipper Virat Kohli at the other end, he threw his wicket away. RCB were immediately on the back foot after AB de Villiers too fell cheaply.
After his Hyderabad knock, Rahul had said, “I have been batting really well and just have to look to bat through. I know both my fifties have ended in a losing cause but my focus is to add 20-30 runs as it can help the side to win.”
On Monday, he lost focus on reaching fifty, scooping leg spinner Piyush Chawla to deep cover.
Had he stayed on, even Kohli could have gone for the kill, but he was then forced into rebuilding mode. Out of Kohli’s four half- centuries, only one has ended in the fifties. The rest have been big innings. Sadly for Kohli, the RCB bowling has been toothless so far.
Rahul, though, is versatile. He can bat at any position, has sound technique and can also play big shots. RCB though recovered as Shane Watson, Sachin Baby and Stuart Binny helped add 73 runs in the last five overs. Rahul was ecstatic watching the lusty hitting in the end.
He has played five Tests and scored two centuries, and the IPL is also an indicator of his calibre in the limited-overs formats. Being a makeshift wicket-keeper --- he kept wickets after Wriddhiman Saha was injured in last year’s second Test in Sri Lanka --- should be an added advantage when he gets a chance.