Kings XI Punjab got off to a terrific start in the 11th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) by beating Delhi Daredevils by six wickets in the very second match.
Eventually, it was a special innings by KL Rahul which helped Punjab chase down a relatively competitive total of 167. He scored the fastest IPL fifty and set up Punjab to chase the total down convincingly.
Earlier in the day, it was newly appointed Punjab skipper Ravichandran Ashwin who won the toss and asked Daredevils to bat first.
Colin Munro was dismissed pretty early when Afghan mystery spinner Mujeeb Zadran bamboozled him with a brilliant delivery.
Gautam Gambhir, however, struck some mighty blows of Axar Patel in the very next over to get going.
However, Axar came back strongly to send back Shreyas Iyer in his very next over while Vijay Shankar could only manage 13 of 13 before departing.
Exciting Rishabh Pant came in at the fall of Shankar’s wicket and struck some meat blows during his brief stay in the crease. The southpaw smashed 28 of 14 deliveries which included 4 fours and a six.
It was some good shots in the end by Chris Morris and Dan Christian which propelled Delhi to a score of 166 on the board in 20 overs.
Chasing a competitive total, Punjab began in a scintillating fashion. KL Rahul started smoking all bowlers from the outset.
The first over of Trent Boult yielded 16 runs while Shami wasn’t spared either in the next over.
Amit Mishra was smashed for 24 runs in the third over as Rahul reached his half-century in just 14 balls. He was dismissed soon after making his half-century but by then he had got them off to a flying start.
Yuvraj Singh and Karun Nair started the rebuilding process.
Karun, in particular, smashed some magnificent shots and reached a well-deserved half-century off 33 deliveries. He was dismissed by Dan Christian but by then Punjab was nearly there.
In addition, it was Stoinis and David Miller who played sensible innings to chase the total down for Punjab with seven deliveries to spare.
This is what the winning captain Ravichandran Ashwin said at the post-match presentation
“There is lesser pressure now. I had a bit of nerves going in for the toss. Feeling a bit relieved now. I had some elaborate plans going. KL Rahul and the other guys helped me execute them. I wanted a lot of guys to have a good hit and we batted well today.”