AN Indian cricket star renowned mainly for his Test cricket smashed the fastest half century ever seen in the IPL — before almost watching his record fall.-Sabrang
OPENING batsman Lokesh Rahul has smashed the fastest half-century in Indian Premier League history off only 14 balls and led his new franchise Kings XI Punjab to a six-wicket win over Delhi Daredevils.
Sunil Narine nearly matched Rahul when he hit 50 off 17 balls in Kolkata Knight Riders’ four-wicket victory over Royal Challengers Bangalore at Eden Gardens in Sunday’s other match.
Rahul’s 51 featured six fours and four sixes as Punjab reached 4-167 in 18.5 overs with Karun Nair (50 off 33 balls) also in fine form.
Delhi, after being put into bat by new Punjab skipper Ravichandran Ashwin, scored 7-166.
“For years, I’ve been branded a Test cricketer,” Rahul said. “It’s good for me to be up there, creating history and breaking records. Hope to continue this way.” The 17-year-old spinner Mujeebur Rahman picked up 2-28 off four overs and the Afghan also ran out top scorer Gautam Gambhir (55) to cap a dream IPL debut as the youngest-ever player.
Australia’s Dan Christian made 13 for Delhi while countryman Marcus Stoinis took 0-7 from his solitary over.
At Eden Gardens, Narine’s brisk half century lifted Kolkata, who boast Mitchell Johnson and Chris Lynn in their line-up, to 6-177 in 18.5 overs after Bangalore were restricted to 7-176.
AB de Villiers (44 off 23) and captain Virat Kohli (31 off 33) were going strong before falling to part-time spinner Nitish Rana in the 15th over and Bangalore got 44 off its last five overs after being put into bat.
De Villiers smashed Rana for a six off the first ball but holed out at mid-on and Kohli missed out on a fuller delivery and was clean bowled. “We were 15 short with the bat, myself included,” Kohli said. “Me and AB getting out in two balls to a part-timer was game-changing as well.” West Indies left-hander Narine hit five sixes and four boundaries before he played on to Umesh Yadav in the sixth over.
England’s Chris Woakes picked up 3-36, but Narine had done enough damage at the top.
Captain Dinesh Karthik (35 not out) eased the chase when he combined with Rana (34) for a half-century stand.