Rahul’s ton helps KXIP script facile 97-run win over RCB

Dubai, Sep 24 (IANS) Riding on a blistering century skipper KL Rahul, Kings XI Punjab thrashed Royal Challengers Bangalore by 97 runs in an IPL encounter at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Thursday.Rahul’s unbeaten 132 off 69 balls helped KXIP post a mammoth 206/3 in 20 overs. In reply, RCB were bowled out for 109 in 17 overs. RCB needed big contributions from their star-studded top order to stand a chance in the mammoth chase. But what ensued was far from it, as RCB were reduced to 57/5 inside nine overs with the young Devdutt Padikkal (1), Aaron Finch (20), Josh Philippe (0), captain Virat Kohli (1) and AB de Villiers (28) all back in the hut. Mohammed Shami put the early breaks on the RCB innings, giving away just 14 runs in the three overs he bowled and taking the wicket of Philippe. Sheldon Cottrell dismissed Padikkal in the very first over of the innings before claiming the all-important wicket of Kohli in the third. Finch and de Villiers then put up 49 runs for the fourth wicket, which was the only meaningful partnership that RCB managed to put up on the night. Ravi Bishnoi (20) ended the stand with the wicket of Finch in the eighth over. De Villiers fell in the ninth over to Murugan Ashwin to end any slender chances of RCB putting up a challenge. Bishnoi and Ashwin ended the game with three wickets each. It was an especially bad the day in office for Kohli, who apart from being dismissed for just one run, was guilty of dropping Rahul twice in the 17th and 18th over. Rahul went berserk after that, smashing 26 runs off Dale Steyn in the 19th over before ending the 20th with a four and consecutive sixes. His 132 is the highest score by any Indian in the IPL and the first century by any batsman this season. Brief scores: KXIP 206/3 in 20 overs (KL Rahul 132 not out, Mayank Agarwal 26; Shivam Dube 2/33) vs RCB 109 in 17 overs (Washington Sundar 30, AB de Villiers 28; Murugan Ashwin 3/21)–IANSrkm/arm

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