Punjab Kings captain KL Rahul batted exceptionally well, finishing with an unbeaten 91 off 57 balls to lift his side to a winning total of 179 against the Royal Challengers Bangalore in Ahmedabad. KL Rahul’s captaincy was also spot-on against a strong Royal Challengers, who his team beat by 34 runs to claim their third win of IPL 2021. The 28-year old felt delighted that the move to play Harpreet Brar reaped rich rewards for them.
Punjab Kings captain KL Rahul threaded a whirlwind stand with Chris Gayle after losing Prabhsimran Singh for a single-figure score. But Gayle’s departure for 46 off 24 deliveries triggered a familiar collapse as Nicholas Pooran, Deepak Hooda, and Shahrukh Khan all fell for a single-figure score. It remained uncertain whether they would complete their innings before Rahul cut loose and added 61 runs with Harpreet Brar. Brar remained unbeaten at 25 off 17 balls, making an invaluable contribution.
Riley Meredith sent Devdutt Padikkal’s off-stump flying in his second over to give the Kings a great start. Rajat Patidar and Virat Kohli could not motor along at the required run rate as Punjab’s bowling unit maintained the pressure. Harpreet Brar struck thrice in his last two overs, removing Virat Kohli, Glenn Maxwell, and AB de Villiers to significantly reduce the opposition’s chances of winning, finishing with figures of 4-0-19-3. Due to some big hits provided by Kyle Jamieson and Harshal Patel, they could reduce the losing margin.
There’ll always be talks outside the team whether Gayle should be playing at this age: KL Rahul
KL Rahul conceded they had been preparing Harpreet Brar as they needed an off-spinner who could hit the hard lengths and get some spin. The 28-year old has been trying to pass on whatever experience he has to his men and thinks it’s his role as captain. The Karnataka batsman talked about the debates surrounding Chris Gayle’s place in the eleven, stating that he brings a lot to their team and keeps getting dominant with every passing edition. Rahul believes that it’s the right move for Gayle to bat at number three and called the Jamaican a team man.
“We were preparing him [Harprett], I can say that now after a game like this. We needed a fingerspinner who could hit the hard lengths and get some spin. And we’re happy it worked out. I’ve been trying to speak to the boys, whatever little experience I have of international and IPL, pass it onto them. They have enormous talent but as captains it’s important we prepare them for the pressure in the situations. There’s nothing in particular [about performing against RCB]. We’ve always played them, at least the last 4 inniings, in must-win games. So I try and do well and set up a target and it’s worked out. There’ll always be talks outside the team whether Gayle should be playing at this age, but I know as a captain what it feels like to have a man like him. He keeps getting more and more dominant. The last season onwards he’s batted at 3 and that’s the kind of man he is, does anything for the team. It’s nice to have that kind of experience in the middle,” Rahul told in the post-match presentation.