Indian T20 League, Punjab vs Bangalore: KL Rahul and a tale of innumerable records
"We have done really well defending a total less than 170 and seeing the bowlers execute their plans so well," Bangalore skipper Virat Kohli said after winning the toss and putting Punjab to bat. So little did he know what Punjab captain, KL Rahul, was about to bring on the table.
Taking the field alongside Mayank Agarwal, the captain played a 57-run opening wicket stand, and in the midst, became the fastest Indian to score 2000 Indian T20 League runs, breaking Sachin Tendulkar's 8-year-old record. Notably, the opener reached the mark in his 60th inning, while Tendulkar took 63. On an overall perspective, the 28-year-old became the 32nd player to score 2000 Indian T20 League runs and 20th Indian to the same.
|Fastest Indian to 2000 Indian T20 League runs|
Just in, Rahul’s Punjab teammate Chris Gayle is the fastest batsman to score 2000 Indian T20 League runs. He achieved the mark in his 48th innings.
In terms of balls faced, Rahul is the fifth-fastest Indian to the record, achieving it in 1454 balls. Virender Sehwag tops the list, having scored 2000 Indian T20 League runs in just 1211 balls.
Leading from the front on Thursday against Bangalore, the captain scored a half-century in 36 deliveries - his 17th in the Indian T20 League and 13th for Punjab. This half-century was, in fact, his first against Bangalore and also his first as a captain. And well, the carnage didn’t stop there. He was of course helped by his national compatriot, Virat Kohli, who dropped him on two different occasions in the span of five minutes, notably at mid-wicket and other at covers.
Capitalizing on the given opportunity, he went on to score an unbeaten ton, notching 132 runs in just 69 deliveries; his second century in the Indian T20 League. His knock shattered a couple of other records as well. For the starter, his score of 132 is not only the highest score by an Indian in the Indian T20 League, but it is also the highest by any captain in the competition.
Scoring 64.08% runs of his team's total (132/206), the 28-year-old smashed the ball left, right and centre, scoring a majority of his runs on covers (28), fine leg (26), long on (23) and point (21). Furthermore, the Karnataka batsman scored 98 of his 132 runs through boundaries (14 fours and seven sixes), which is now the most by any Punjab player in the history of Indian T20 League, surpassing Virender Sehwag's knock of 122 he scored against Chennai in 2014 where he scored 96 through boundaries.
Rahul, with his approach, was tactically brilliant. He steadied the pace when Punjab lost Nicholas Pooran and Glenn Maxwell in quick succession, but went absolutely berserk in the death overs, scoring 16 runs in the final three deliveries of the innings, ruining Shivam Dube's perfect night. An over before, he hit Dale Steyne for 26 runs, all in boundaries (three sixes and two fours).
|High scores vs Bangalore in Indian T20 League|
|KL Rahul||132*||Punjab||Dubai (DSC)||24-Sep-20|
|JM Bairstow||114||Hyderabad||Hyderabad (Deccan)||31-Mar-19|
|Q de Kock||108||Delhi||Bengaluru||17-Apr-16|
And last, but obviously not the least, his unbeaten 132 is the highest individual score a Punjab player has scored in the whole of Indian T20 League's history, and second-highest score against Bangalore after Brendon McCullum's unforgettable 158 in the inaugural edition of the tournament.
This was arguably one of those performances from Rahul which will go down as one of the best in the history of the competition. And well, riding on his back, Punjab registered a thumping 97-run victory over Bangalore, which is now their second-biggest win (in terms of runs) in the Indian T20 League history. Ironically, their biggest win also came against Bangalore in 2011 when Adam Gilchrist and Shaun Marsh played a 206-run stand to take their team to 232/2. Piyush Chawla and Ryan Harris then did the work with the ball to dismiss Bangalore at 121, registering a victory by 111 runs.
Feature image courtesy: Twitter/Punjab