Photo: SportzPics

A trailblazing ton by skipper KL Rahul coupled with a disciplined bowling performance helped Kings XI Punjab get a resounding victory over Royal Challengers Bangalore in their second game of the 2020 Dream11 Indian Premier League. Playing again at the Dubai International Stadium, KXIP always remained in control of this game, and got a convincing 97-run victory to pick their first points of the season. 

Asked to bat first, KXIP got off to a strong start, getting 17 of the first two overs, as skipper KL Rahul got to 2000 runs in the Dream11 Indian Premier League. Mayank Agarwal followed suit in the third over, getting a boundary on either side of the wicket. The Kings XI openers continued to pierce the gaps in the powerplay overs, getting 50 runs on the board after six overs with all their wickets intact. 

The partnership however came to an end when spin was introduced into the attack, as a wrong one from Yuzvendra Chahal knocked over Agarwal. Despite losing his partner, KL Rahul kept the run rate constant, targeting Umesh Yadav’s third over, getting two fours and six to push the team score to 90/1. 

In the 12th over, the KXIP skipper nudged one towards long on to get his 17th half century of the IPL. Rahul switched gears after getting to his fifty, scoring three boundaries off Navdeep Saini penultimate over to bring up a 50 run partnership with Nicholas Pooran. 

Pooran tried to replicate his skipper’s aggressive batting, but only found the fielder in the circle, leaving KXIP at 118/2 after 14 overs. RCB’s bowlers struck again after two overs, as Glenn Maxwell’s cut shot off Shivam Dube’s bowling found the fielder at short cover. 

A well set Rahul though continued to play his shots and put the pressure back on RCB, getting a flat six on the leg side off Dale Steyn’s bowling. At the other end Karun Nair played a cheeky scoop shot to get his second four of the evening. That same over, Rahul was given a life as a miscued shot towards long off was dropped by opposition skipper Virat Kohli. 

He made RCB pay for that drop, as he got two sixes on the leg side and a four over short third-man to score the first century of the 2020 IPL season. Rahul continued to pummel the bowlers, as he got two sixes and a four of the last over to end at 132*- the highest score by an Indian in the IPL. Rahul’s late barrage helped his team end strong, as KXIP got 49 of the last two overs to finish the innings at 206/3. 

Turning Point

The last two overs of the KXIP innings went for 49 runs, and that is what put the target beyond reach for Bangalore, and put pressure on their batsmen who then faltered. 

With ball in hand, Kings XI Punjab got off to the perfect start, as Devdutt Padikkal and Josh Philippe were both sent packing within the first couple of overs. Things got better for the bowling side, as danger man Virat Kohli miscued his pull shot off Sheldon Cottrell’s bowling, giving an easy catch to the fielder inside the circle. The scorecard read 5/3 after three overs, as RCB found themselves in all sorts of problems early on. 

AB De Villiers gave his side some hope as he played his shots in the final two overs of the powerplay, getting three fours and a six to push the team score to 40 after six. Post the powerplay, KXIP’s bowlers struck again as a quicker one from Ravi Bishnoi clipped the top of Aaron Finch’s off-stump. 

Punjab’s other leg spinner Murugan Ashwin also got into the act shortly after, as a flighted delivery outside the off-stump enticed De Villiers to play the big shot, only to find Sarfaraz Khan in the deep. The flurry of wickets hampered RCB’s scoring rate, as the next five overs yielded just 25 runs, while Shivam Dube and Umesh Yadav were also sent back to the pavilion by Glenn Maxwell and Bishnoi respectively. 

Bishnoi picked up his third wicket of the night in his final over, as Washington Sundar mistimed his shot and ended up being caught in the deep, leaving RCB at 101/8. With the game’s result destined for a while now, Murugan Ashwin finished things off for KXIP, getting the final two wickets to give his franchise a 97 run victory over Bangalore. 

Kings XI Punjab play their next game against Rajasthan Royals on Sunday, September 27. 

Brief Scorecard

Kings XI Punjab:                    206/3, 20 overs (Rahul 132*, Dube 2/33)


Royal Challengers Bangalore:  109/10, 17 overs (Sundar 30, M Ashwin 3/21)