Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) began their journey in style in the Vivo IPL 2018 with a resounding victory over Delhi Daredevils by six wickets and with seven deliveries to spare.
It was mainly possible due to a magnificent knock by KL Rahul which saw him hit the fastest IPL fifty. Karun Nair also gave him able support with a fine half-century.
It was KXIP skipper Ravichandran Ashwin who won the toss and put Daredevils to bat first.
Captain Gautam Gambhir and Colin Munro came out to start proceedings. After some gorgeous shots by Gautam Gambhir, it was debutant Mujeeb Zadran who bamboozled Colin Munro with a brilliant delivery.
The southpaw Munro went for a reverse sweep but missed it altogether. The umpire had no hesitation in ruling it in favour of the bowling team.
Gambhir attacked Axar Patel from the outset but the left-arm spinner came back strong by dismissing Shreyas Iyer in his very next over.
Vijay Shankar also played dodgy innings of 13 of 13 deliveries before being dismissed by Mohit Sharma.
Gambhir, on the other hand, was playing brilliantly in the other end. He stepped out to the spinners pretty nicely and reached a well-deserved half-century.
Rishabh Pant smoked a few big shots and scored a quickfire 28 of just 14 deliveries which added impetus to the innings. Gambhir was unfortunately run out at the score of 57.
Eventually, it was some good hitting by Chris Morris and Dan Christian which propelled Delhi to a score of 166 in their allotted 20 overs. It was a competitive total to chase.
However opener KL Rahul had other ideas. From the very first delivery, he started smashing the bowlers at will. The first over of Trent Boult went for 16 runs which included a couple of fours and a six.
Mohammed Shami wasn’t given respite either as he smashed two more boundaries and a six of the next over.
The right-handed Rahul went berserk in the next over of Amit Mishra as he collected 24 runs and reached the fastest fifty in IPL history of just 14 deliveries. He was dismissed soon after making his fifty but he had got them off to a flying start.
Karun Nair joined Yuvraj Singh in the middle. The youngster began with some exquisite shots and looked in complete control of proceedings. He was dismissed by Dan Christian after a well made fifty.
It was eventually David Miller and Marcus Stoinis who finished the job for Punjab with some sensible batting.
Delhi Daredevils 166/7 in 20 overs (Gautam Gambhir 57, Rishabh Pant 28, Mujeeb Zadran 2/28)
Kings XI Punjab 167/4 in 18.5 overs (KL Rahul 51, Karun Nair 50, Dan Christian 1/12)
Kings XI Punjab won by 6 wickets (with a delivery to spare)