Kings XI Punjab had two good reasons to celebrate after their two shers made merry in the British Isles on Friday.
Top run-getter for his side in this year's VIVO Indian Premier League, Lokesh Rahul shone for India when he slammed a blazing fifty against Ireland in the second T20 International at Dublin while Axar Patel, KXIP's only retained player, picked up a four-fer for India A when they faced off West Indies A at Northampton.
Opening the innings for the national side, Rahul took just 36 balls to score 70 and emblazoned three 4s and six 6s along the way. Unfettered by skipper Virat Kohli's early dismissal, the 26-year-old put on 106 for the second wicket with Suresh Raina before he was dismissed by Kevin O'Brien, who emerged as Ireland's top bowler in the match.
KL Rahul should be a guaranteed starter in India's T20 team after taking his T20 batting to a new level this year by increasing his attacking shot percentage from 50% to 60%. Rahul is particularly strong against spin: in 2018 only Aaron Finch scores faster v spinners. #IrevInd pic.twitter.com/j72MNgIKOw— Freddie Wilde (@fwildecricket) June 29, 2018
Ireland tied with KL Rahul.— Saurabh Malhotra (@MalhotraSaurabh) June 29, 2018
India eventually scored 213/4 and dismissed Ireland for just 70, recording their biggest win in T20Is with a margin of 143 runs.
Dear Virat, whatever you do in England, DON'T drop KL Rahul for any of the matches on the tour. Thanks!— Saurabh Malhotra (@MalhotraSaurabh) June 29, 2018
Over in the mainland, West Indies A succumbed to India A in the Tri Series One Day match as they set about chasing a massive target of 355, with Axar Patel ending up with a clump of wickets.
Patel's left-arm guile first dismissed Sunil Ambris, which accounted for half the side back in the pavilion at that point, and then polished off the tail by picking up Chemar Holder, Sherman Lewis and Oshane Thomas to give his side a massive 203-run victory. Patel ended up with enviable figures of 4/34 in 9.4 overs.
India A is set to play in the final of the Tri Series next when they face England A on Monday. The national side, meanwhile, will gear up for a three-match T20I series against England starting Tuesday.