Kings XI Punjab after snatching defeat from the jaws of victory against Delhi Capitals had a point to prove against buoyant Royal Challengers Bangalore whose opening match versus Sunrisers Hyderabad was a complete contrast.
KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal put on a good opening partnership to lay the groundwork for later overs after RCB captain Virat Kohli won the toss and elected to bowl first.
Kings XI Punjab, riding on both the openers, scored an impressive 50 in the first six overs. However, a comeback of sorts by the RCB post powerplay put on the breaks of Kings XI. Chahal then capitalised and castled Agarwal with a googly to the get the run-rate under control.
However, monstrous century by KL Rahul at the end propelled Kings XI to a score above 200 in their 20 overs
Let us look at five talking points from the first innings between Kings XI Punjab and Royal Challengers Bangalore
Cleanest opening pair
KXIP’s first-wicket pair of Mayank Agarwal and KL Rahul added 57 runs in 41 balls and looked the IPL’s cleanest opening pair when it comes to striking. Last match’s King-pin Mayank Agarwal was snapped by Chahal’s googly
Contender for IPL’s most fearsome spinner this year
India is witnessing a break-up of its Kul-cha. While Kuldeep Yadav in Kolkata Knight Riders struggles with a continued poor form, Chahal is breathing fire in the IPL for RCB. He followed up a match-winning spell against Sunrisers Hyderabad with a brilliant 25-1 figures today and might just become the most feared spinner of this season
No spark in RCB bowling and fielding
Dale Steyn has been clever with his change of pace but he was still deposited on both sides of the ground by KL Rahul. He was unlucky as KL Rahul was twice dropped on his bowling by Virat Kohli but apart from him and Chahal, a bowling line-up comprising Navdeep Saini and Umesh Yadav, who can’t let go of the habit to bowl down the leg, look stingless.
KL Rahul was 90*(60) from 18 overs and then he smashed 6,4,0,6,6,4,4,6,6 and finished on 132*(69) including 14 fours and 7 sixes.
On his way, Rahul also became the fastest Indian man to the 2000-run milestone in IPL, going past Sachin Tendulkar!
Don’t count RCB out yet!
With power-hitters like AB de Villers, Virat Kohli in the line-up, expect fireworks from the Royal Challengers Bangalore as well. Meanwhile, KXIP skipper KL Rahul will be hoping his side doesn’t manage to lose this match.