Lokesh Rahul ran riot to smash an unbeaten century in the opening T20 International match against England steering India to a comfortable eight-wicket victory at Old Trafford on Tuesday.
Chasing 160 for the win, after Kuldeep Yadav's fifer restricted the English side, Rahul came in to bat in the very first over of India's innings after opener Shikhar Dhawan departed early.
K Hail Rahul #ENGvIND— Gaurav Kalra (@gauravkalra75) July 3, 2018
From there, he put on 123 runs for the second wicket with Rohit Sharma, who got out for 32 and contributed 31 runs to the partnership. The Kings XI Punjab batsman, who starred for his side in the VIVO Indian Premier League as well, did the bulk of the scoring when the two were at the crease and took the game away from England almost single-handedly.
In Cricket '97, there was a cheat that would make the ball giant size so it would be easier to hit. KL Rahul seems to be playing on that mode. #ENGvIND— Mufaddal Fakhruddin (@mufaaf) July 3, 2018
His first 85 runs came in just 37 balls, at a phenomenal strike rate of 229.72, that included a plunder of 20 runs courtesy two sixes and two fours in the 11th over bowled by Liam Plunkett.
That over ended Rahul's stroke-filled onslaught that saw him wallop 52 runs off just 17 balls at a strike rate of 305.88, where he smashed five 4s and towered four 6s.
England needs 17 fielders for KL Rahul! #ENGvIND— Gaurav Kapur (@gauravkapur) July 3, 2018
Rahul then cruised to his second career T20I century, the joint-most for an Indian, ending up unbeaten on 101 off just 54 balls with five sixes and 10 fours. It wrapped up a successful day for KXIP's players after Aaron Finch's record knock and Andrew Tye's haul earlier in the day.
KL Rahul has the highest strike-rate for Indian T20 batsmen and yet he scores heavily, and with luscious cricketing shots.— Aniruddha Guha (@AniGuha) July 3, 2018
Soul of a Test batsman, heart of a limited overs cricketer. Salute. #ENGvIND
"Unbelievable innings," remarked India captain Virat Kohli. "He's come a long way - so clean and so crisp... He's got a great shape, great technique, great temperament. He's very hungry."
Rahul’s hunger was evident in the IPL too and he has managed to carry that form in to international cricket, starting with a 54 in the Test match against Afghanistan and 70 in the T20I against Ireland. His knock in Manchester on Tuesday guided India to its first T20I win against England in the country.
India will now face England in the second of the three T20Is at Cardiff on Friday.