In the 14 matches that Kings XI Punjab played in the VIVO Indian Premier League this season, the fans witnessed some incredible strokeplay and power-hitting from the team’s stars.
Players like KL Rahul, Chris Gayle, Nicholas Pooran and Sam Curran showcased their immense talents with some noteworthy innings over the course of the season, and with the campaign now in the rear view mirror, we look back at some of the best with the bat from the Shers:
- Rahul’s ‘very, very special’ ton at the Wankhede
After scoring 94 in his last appearance at the Wankhede Stadium for the Shers, KL Rahul returned to take care of some unfinished business and he did so in style, smashing an unbeaten century off just 64 deliveries, with six boundaries and six maximums. Having come in to open the innings with Chris Gayle, the Mangalore-native and the Universe Boss forged a 116-run partnership and after the big West Indian’s dismissal, Rahul anchored the innings to not only complete his maiden VIVO IPL ton but also take the team to a massive total of 197.
- Universe Boss opens with a bang
Finding form early in the season is essential for a player, as well as the team, and our Sher Chris Gayle ensured that he gave KXIP the perfect launchpad in our season opener against Rajasthan Royals. Following the dismissal of Rahul in the very first over of the contest with just four runs on the board, the Jamaican curbed his natural attacking instinct to forge a 56-run partnership with Mayank Agarwal and just after midway through the innings, Gayle went on a rampage, smashing 51 in just 21 deliveries to set the platform for the rest of the batting lineup to capitalize.
- Rahul gives Chennai no chance
In the final game of the season in Mohali, a magnificent inning from Faf Du Plessis was thwarted by a spirited bowling effort at the death helped the home team pile up a difficult-looking total of 170 in their batting effort. But in reply, Rahul’s onslaught in the first 10 overs blew CSK away as the Shers cruised to a comfortable win. After scoring just six in his first half-a-dozen deliveries, Rahul smashed 46 in the next 13 deliveries to bring up his half-century off just 19 balls, the third-fastest in this VIVO IPL season. Rahul continued to dominate CSK’s bowling attack before being dismissed for 71 having played 36 balls. The 27-year-old’s effort helped get the required rate down to just 6.50, which the Shers chased down comfortably.
- Pooran and Curran cream the bowlers
After Gayle and Rahul were dismissed early against Kolkata Knight Riders at Mohali, wicketkeeper Nicholas Pooran, who had yet not found an opportunity to bat a long innings, finally got that chance and made it count. After taking five balls to settle in, Pooran scored 10 runs off Harry Gurney’s over before taking compatriot Andre Russell to the cleaners in the following over. The young West Indian kept timing the ball sweetly and found the boundary and the maximums at regular intervals in his brilliant knock of 48 in just 27 balls.
After Pooran’s dismissal, the KXIP innings lost a bit of momentum but another youngster, all-rounder Sam Curran, came in to bat in the final five overs and smashed a memorable half-century, his first in the VIVO IPL, to propel the Shers to 183. He started his onslaught in the 17th over where he scored 13 off four deliveries, which included a boundary and a huge six, and then smashed Russell for a couple of boundaries in the 19th to set up a grandstand finish. And he did provide the Shers with just that, as he smashed 22 off the final over, including two outrageous sixes in what was a magical display of batting.