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Shoaib Akhtar Credited Virat Kohli For Investing A Lot In KL Rahul While Previewing IPL 2022 Eliminator

Virat Kohli | Photo Credit: AP
Virat Kohli | Photo Credit: AP

Shoaib Akhtar, the former Pakistan pacer has credited former India captain Virat Kohli for investing a lot in KL Rahul’s talent and giving him the opportunity to turn into the match-winner that he has become today.

Shoaib Akhtar pointed out that KL Rahul started opening the innings frequently under Virat Kohli and his game went to a different level after that. The duo of star Indian batters will be opponents on Wednesday when the Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) take on the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in the IPL 2022 Eliminator at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata.

Virat Kohli, KL Rahul | Photo Credit: AP
Virat Kohli, KL Rahul | Photo Credit: AP

Shoaib Akhtar Reckons Virat Kohli Invested A Lot In KL Rahul Who May Be The Major Factor In Eliminator

Previewing the knockout clash, Shoaib Akhtar praised Virat Kohli for the LSG skipper’s growth as a batter.

Shoaib Akhtar said: “Virat Kohli invested a lot in KL Rahul (when he was the Indian captain). He pushed him up to open and made him a permanent member of the Indian team. Rahul is a nice and sensible guy.

“He has been able to prove himself and has successfully shown that he is a serious contender for India and in the IPL as well. I think KL Rahul is going to be a major factor in the match.”

KL Rahul
KL Rahul. (Photo: IPL)

Both KL Rahul and Virat Kohli go into the IPL 2022 Eliminator with half-centuries against their names in their respective previous matches. The Lucknow captain made 68* off 51 against the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) and featured in an unbroken opening stand of 210 with Quinton de Kock (140* off 70).

As for Virat Kohli, he scored a fluent 73 off 54 balls against the Gujarat Titans (GT). He was also involved in an opening partnership of 115 with RCB skipper Faf du Plessis (44 off 38). Virat Kohli was retained ahead of the IPL 2022 mega auction for INR 15 crores. He is the team’s 2nd highest run-getter this season with 309 runs averaging a mere 23.77 which doesn’t depict a good picture going by Virat Kohli’s caliber and credentials.

KL Rahul has been Mr. Consistent of IPL in the last couple of seasons, scoring over 500 runs in each of the last four editions. The right-handed batsman was picked as a draft player. Last season, he was part of Punjab Kings. He has amassed 537 runs in 14 IPL 2022 games averaging 48.82 including successive tons against Mumbai. The Lucknow skipper KL Rahul is the team’s leading run-getter so far this season and 2nd highest run-getter after Jos Buttler.

Shoaib Akhtar Wants To See If Lucknow Skipper KL Rahul Is Able To Get The Crowd Support By Controlling The Eliminator Clash Against Bangalore

Being a fan favorite, Virat Kohli is expected to have a lot of crowd support at the Eden Gardens. According to Shoaib Akhtar, the LSG captain must look to get the crowd behind him as well by controlling the game.

Backing the opener to do a good job, he said: “The two new teams, Lucknow and Gujarat, had to prove a point and they have been doing that very well. I would go with KL Rahul (for this game). Let’s see if Rahul is able to get the crowd support by controlling the game. He needs to focus hard on those two seconds every ball.”

Shoaib Akhtar. (AFP Photo)
Shoaib Akhtar. (AFP Photo)

The winner of the LSG-RCB clash will meet the Rajasthan Royals (RR) in Qualifier 2 in Ahmedabad on Friday to decide the second finalist of IPL 2022. Virat Kohli has had a very poor season this time around in IPL 2022.

He has only scored 309 runs in 14 matches averaging 23.77 at a strike rate of under 120, besides being dismissed on golden duck thrice this season. He also managed 2 fifties-both against Gujarat with a best of 73 in RCB’s last league match.

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