KL Rahul had to prove himself for making himself a useful choice for India’s World Cup Quest. After two failed attempt he did it finally in the 9th match of IPL against Kings XI Punjab. Thanks to him and Murugan Ashwin, Punjab won the match with sheer dominance.
Punjab sent Mumbai to bat first. Mumbai had a much better start with Quinton de Kock scoring 60 of 39 runs. Rohit scored 32 of 18 and helped Mumbai to get 50 in first five overs. However some lackluster batting in the middle order pegged back Mumbai. Yuvraj scored a 22 ball and 18 and also Pollard fall in single digit score. Like the last match, Hardik played a handy inning at the death to lift the run rate. His innings included three fours and one massive six. Both Mohammad Shami and Hardus Viljoen took two wickets each but had to face the onslaught from Pandya.
Murugan Ashwin was the star with a spell of 2 for 25 which included wickets of Surya Kumar Yadav and Yuvraj Singh. Murugan was replacing the mystery spinner Varun Chakravarty who was out injured.
A steady unbeaten 71 from KL Rahul helped Kings XI Punjab to chase down the target of 177 set by Mumbai Indians with 8 balls to spare. After two not so decent outings in the previous matches, Rahul was prepared to buy his time. Chris Gayle also took a similar approach and Kings scored only 38 runs in the power play bowled by McClenaghan, Bumrah, and Malinga. As soon as Hardik Pandya came to the attack Gayle woke up and hit him for two consecutive sixes. When a Gayle storm looked like a possibility, Krunal Pandya got him next over caught by brother Hardik.
Mayank Agarwal continued his good form in all forms of cricket and delivered a stroke-full 43 off 21 balls. His 4 fours and 2 sixes gave the required momentum to Kings and with Rahul looked undisturbed in the other end the chase was never in question. Rahul reached his fifty in the 16th over and finished the chase with David Millar in the 19th over.
Agarwal’s excellent innings got him the player of the match trophy. Kings now have four points from three matches and will host Delhi Capitals on Monday. Mumbai have their usual slow start and only had one win from three matches. They will go back to Mumbai to host MS Dhoni’s Chennai Super Kings on Wednesday.