IPL 2018: Match 2, KXIP vs DD, Review- KL Rahul and Karun Nair complete Delhi heist

Punjab romped home in Mohali with seven balls and six wickets to spare.

KL Rahul
KL Rahul celebrates his fifty. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Both Kings XI Punjab and the Delhi Daredevils haven’t won the Indian Premier League (IPL) ever since the inception of the tournament in 2008. Nevertheless, with a new season ahead, both teams certainly want to turn their fortunes around. However, the game turned out to be a one-sided affair in favour of Punjab as they romped home with six wickets in hand.

The Daredevils had a dismal outing last time around and they stuttered frantically in the first game of this season as well. On a bright and sunny afternoon in Mohali, Ravichandran Ashwin and Punjab elected to field first. Delhi racked up an impressive score on the board after which Punjab chased the target down without sweating a lot.

Delhi rides on Gambhir’s fifty to respectability

Gautam Gambhir and Colin Munro commenced proceedings for the Daredevils. Meanwhile, Punjab employed a couple of spinners in the attack from the very first over. The visitors had a jittery start to their innings as Mujeeb Zadran drew first blood in his debut IPL match. Munro went for an outrageous reverse-sweep and the Afghan off-spinner trapped him in front.

Gambhir, who made a comeback in Delhi colours after seven seasons, looked determined to make an impact with the willow. He wasn’t scared of taking the aerial route and manipulated the field with sheer expertise. However, there was no semblance of support for him from the other end. Both Shreyas Iyer and Vijay Shankar impressed only to perish in quick succession.

Meanwhile, Gambhir accomplished his 37th half-century in the tournament. Rishabh Pant spanked a few to the boundaries, however, he succumbed to the guile of Mujeeb Ur Rahman. Ashwin was also pretty impressive with the leather as he churned out the crafty leg-breaks, which bamboozled Delhi’s batsmen. Prior to that Gambhir fell prey to a splendid piece of fielding by Mujeeb.

It was the partnership of 41 runs off 27 balls between Chris Morris and Daniel Christian propelled their score to a significant extent. For Punjab, while Mujeeb and Mohit Sharma finished with a couple of wickets each, Ashwin and Axar Patel nipped out a wicket each. The target for the Kings was difficult, but not insurmountable by any means.

KL Rahul mauls Delhi into submission

KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal had the onus on themselves to get the Kings off to a flying start. Rahul has recently struggled to cement his position in the Indian team, however, he didn’t let the disappointment unnerve him. The Karnataka cricketer trod the aggressive route right from the outset and smashed the bowlers to all corners of the ground.

He plundered 12 runs off Mohammed Shami after which he carted 24 runs off Amit Mishra’s first over which included three boundaries and two sixes. The right-handed batsman also notched the fastest ever half-century in the history of the IPL in just 14 balls. Meanwhile, Mayank Agarwal couldn’t get himself going and was dismissed by Chris Morris after being smashed over the covers into the stands.

However, soon after reaching the milestone, Rahul became Trent Boult’s first victim. Delhi somehow managed to pull things back with a couple of quick wickets. The responsibility was now on Yuvraj Singh and Karun Nair to score the remainder of the runs. Yuvraj struggled to find a rhythm and leg-spinner Rahul Tewatia accounted for his dismissal.

Karun Nair found the boundaries frequently enough and scored 50 runs off 53 balls, which took Punjab to the brink of an emphatic victory. The game was all but over for Gautam Gambhir’s men. Marcus Stoinis and David Miller finished the formalities by taking Punjab over the line without any more hiccup.

Brief Scores

Delhi Daredevils: 166/7 in 20 overs; Gautam Gambhir 55, Rishabh Pant 28; Mujeeb Ur Rahman 2/28, Mohit Sharma 2/33

Kings XI Punjab: 167/4 in 18.5 overs; KL Rahul 51, Karun Nair 50; Rahul Tewatia 1/24, Daniel Christian 1/12

Kings XI Punjab beat Delhi Daredevils by six wickets

Player of the Match: KL Rahul

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