Top 3 knocks by KL Rahul in the IPL
KL Rahul had a phenomenal IPL season last year. He ended the season at third place with 659 runs in 14 games, and was instrumental to the fortunes of his team Kings XI Punjab.
Rahul's good form in IPL meant that there were high expectations from the fans about him performing well in the international circuit too. But what actually happened was a totally different story.
Rahul managed to score just one century against England, in the final Test, along with a solitary half-century. His showing in Australia was even worse, and by the end of it he had lost his place in the side.
Rahul now has a chance to redeem himself as IPL 2019 begins in just over a month. On that note, here's a look at 3 of Rahul's best IPL innings over the years:
#3. 51 runs in 16 balls against Delhi Dardevils, 2018
Rahul had an average beginning to his IPL career, but he peaked during the 2018 IPL season. It is not surprising, then, that all three of his best innings are from the 2018 season.
In the match against Delhi Daredevils (now Capitals), Punjab won the toss and elected to field first. A well-played fifty from Delhi's new captain Gautam Gambhir and cameos from others helped them to post a decent 166 runs on the board.
But what they saw next from Rahul was absolute carnage. The Karnataka opener smashed 16 runs in the first over off Trent Boult. He then kept hitting fours and sixes in the coming overs, and there was no relief for the Delhi bowlers.
Rahul reached his half-century in 14 balls, breaking the record for the fastest fifty in IPL history in the process, and ended the innings with 51 runs in 16 balls.
This was easily one of the best IPL innings ever. The blazing start helped Punjab reach the target inside 19 overs.
#2. 95* in 70 balls against Rajasthan Royals, 2018
The new opener Jos Buttler smashed a 58-ball 82 on a wicket where all the other batsmen struggled to time the ball. That knock helped the hosts post 158 runs on the board.
Punjab kept losing wickets in the chase. So Rahul, a man who is known for his aggressive batting, changed gears and played according to the situation.
At one stage they were 81/6, but he kept rotating the strike to keep the scoreboard ticking along. He reached his slowest IPL fifty during the course of the innings, which was much appreciated by most cricket experts.
Towards the end Rahul tried his best to reach the target, but the lack of support from the other side let the team down. Punjab eventually lost the game by 15 runs, with Rahul remaining not out on 95*.
It was one of the best innings ever seen in a losing cause.
#3. 94 Runs in 60 balls against Mumbai Indians, 2018
The 50th match in the 2018 season was played between Kings XI Punjab and Mumbai Indians, at the Wankhede stadium. Ravichandran Ashwin won the toss and asked Mumbai to bat first, and cameos from Suryakumar Yadav and Ishan Kishan gave them a decent start.
Veteran T20 cricketer Kieron Pollard finally hit form during the innings, and smashed a 23-ball 50 which included three massive sixes. Mumbai ended up posting a huge 186 runs on the board thanks to the efforts of Pollard and Co.
Chasing a hefty target, Punjab lost Chris Gayle early in the innings. But Aaron Finch and KL Rahul smashed the ball all across the ground, and the partnership threatened to take the game away from Mumbai Indians.
Jasprit Bumrah broke the 111-run stand between the two batsmen, after which Rahul continued the onslaught. He got out for a brilliant 94 runs in 60 balls, which included 10 fours and three sixes.
The innings certainly deserved a century, and should have come in a winning cause. Unfortunately for him though, his team lost the game by three runs.