IPL 2018: KL Rahul’s fastest IPL fifty helps Kings XI Punjab cruise to victory vs Delhi Daredevils | cricket | Hindustan Times
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IPL 2018: KL Rahul’s fastest IPL fifty helps Kings XI Punjab cruise to victory vs Delhi Daredevils

KL Rahul smashed IPL’s fastest fifty to guide Kings XI Punjab to a comfortable six wicket win over Delhi Daredevils in the opening encounter.

cricket Updated: Apr 08, 2018 21:13 IST
Ashutosh Sharma
KL Rahul needed just 14 balls to bring up his maiden half-century for kings XI Punjab.
KL Rahul needed just 14 balls to bring up his maiden half-century for kings XI Punjab.(PTI)

KL Rahul managed to cook up a perfect Gayle-like storm blowing Delhi Daredevils away to help Kings XI Punjab register a six-wicket win and start their IPL season with a win on Sunday.

With maestro Chris Gayle watching from the sidelines, Rahul shifted gears fluently to ensure his side didn’t miss the services of West Indian in chase of target of 167. His innings and an assured 32-ball 50 from Karun Nair were enough to help Punjab cruise to the winning total. Marcus Stoinis (22) and David Miller (24) completed the formalities with Punjab winning with seven balls to spare.

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Rahul’s 14-ball half-century, the fastest in IPL, left Delhi Daredevils bowlers gasping for breath. Facing Trent Boult, Rahul managed a double off the first three balls. He then opened up hammering a six and two consecutive fours.

Rahul then carted Mohammed Shami for a six and a four before digging into Amit Mishra, introduced by skipper Gautam Gambhir to try and take pace off the ball. Rahul just went with the flow, hitting three fours and two sixes to take 24 runs of the over.

Earlier, had it not been for Gautam Gambhir’s half-century, DD could have easily crumbled under pressure against Punjab’s spin-trio of R Ashwin, Axar Patel and Mujeeb ur Rahman. In the end, DD managed a competitive score of 166. With Ashwin opening the bowling, Delhi started cautiously. Openers Colin Munro and skipper Gambhir were happy to take singles.

At 17 years and 11 days, the youngest player in IPL, Zadran provided the breakthrough and showed why he is considered the next big thing. Munro was adjudged leg before while attempting a switch-hit. Later in the innings, Rahul Tewatia also attempted a similar shot against Ashwin’s fuller delivery only to be caught plumb in front.

It was left to DD’s Indian core to attempt and play around Gambhir, who had kept the other end ticking.