No, that’s not someone’s extended International phone number! That was KL Rahul’s ball by ball scorecard in his debut game for Kings XI Punjab. On the opening day of the 2018 VIVO Indian Premier League, the opening batsman went berserk against Delhi Daredevils, scoring the fastest fifty in the history of the tournament.
Rahul took just 14 balls to get to his half century, getting to that mark by the third over of the KXIP innings. He was the top scorer for his team on the night, as Kings XI Punjab claimed a comfortable six wicket victory against their Northern rivals.
"I just went in there and I just took off. I didn't plan this innings. I was just watching the ball and getting into good positions. It's an opener's responsibility to get the team off to a good start. Really happy that it came off today,” said Rahul in the post match interview.
Chasing a challenging target of 167 on the night at a packed IS Bindra Stadium in Mohali, Rahul made sure that there was no starting trouble as he clobbered Kiwi bowler for 16 runs off the first over. His aggression showed no signs of stopping, as he hit Mohammed Shami for 11 runs in three balls the next over, which included a trademark pull shot which went the distance.
To curb the scoring rate, Delhi decided to introduce spin early into the attack, bringing on Amit Mishra for the third over. The move horribly backfired, as Rahul capitalized on the fielding restrictions of the powerplay, hitting the leg spinner over the infield on every occasion possible. Mishra went for 24 runs off his first five deliveries, as the KXIP opener smashed three fours and two sixes to get to his half century off just 14 balls.
Kings X1 52-0 (2.5 overs). KL Rahul has 51 of them. Now that's what I call setting a platform. #IPL11— Dave Bracegirdle (@bracecricket) April 8, 2018
Rahul was dismissed shortly after his fifty, as he miscued a shot to get caught at short third man. Nevertheless, the damage was already done for Delhi Daredevils as they couldn’t really find their way back in the game. Rahul’s blazing start ensured that there were no hiccups later on, as Karun Nair and David Miller capitalized on it helped KXIP to a six wicket win in Mohali.
Rahul carried that form for the rest of the tournament, as he went on to score six fifties in that IPL season, as was the third highest run getter for the competition after Kane Williamson and Rishabh Pant, ending with 659 runs.