IPL 2019: KL Rahul gives KXIP consolation win but CSK seal top-2 finish

first_imgKL Rahul hit a 36-ball 71 as Kings XI Punjab chased down 172 to defeat Chennai Super Kings by 6 wickets in their final league match of the 2019 Indian Premier League at Mohali on Sunday. Defending champions CSK had already qualified for the playoffs and they are now assured of a top 2 finish.On Sunday, KXIP were playing for pride against CSK, the most consistent team in the history of the Indian Premier League. Faced with a challenging total, KL Rahul came out all guns blazing and targeted the experienced Harbhajan Singh in his first over.In the 2019 IPL, Harbhajan Singh had done a commendable job for Chennai Super Kings, bowling some economical overs in the Powerplay. However, on Sunday, KL Rahul hit 2 sixes in his first over to announce his intentions.More was to follow. KL Rahul was determined to stamp his authority on a classy off-spinner. In Harbhajan Singh’s second over, Rahul hit him for 4, 4, 4, 6 and 6. The 5th ball of the over was a dot. KL Rahul, who hit the fastest IPL fifty last season, raced away to his half-century off only 19 balls. It was the third fastest fifty of the 2019 IPL after Hardik Pandya’s 17-ball fifty and Rishabh Pant’s 18-ball fifty.Chris Gayle, the fastest player to hit 4000 IPL runs and the only man with over 300 sixes in the IPL, was happy to watch Rahul expode from the other end. KL Rahul was unstoppable on Sunday.In a stunning assault, Rahul hammered 7 fours and 5 sixes to set the tone for KXIP’s chase. He looked good for his 2nd hundred of the season Harbhajan Singh returned to dismiss Rahul and Gayle off successive deliveries.advertisementHarbhajan Singh struck again to remove Mayanak Agarwal in his final over but by then, KXIP were closing in on victory.Earlier in the afternoon, Sam Curran dismissed Shane Watson for 7 adter R Ashwin had won the toss and asked Chennai Super Kings to bat.But Faf du Plessis and Suresh Raina added 120 runs off 12.3 overs to keep Chennai Super Kings on course for a huge total. At one point, it did look like CSK would cross the 200-run mark but KXIP staged a good comeback. Curran returned in the attack to get rid of Suresh Raina for 53 in the 17th over.In the 19th over of the CSK innings, Curran struck again to deny Faf du Plessis a hundred. He fell for 96 and CSK unable to finish as strongly as they would have liked after a remarkable partnership for the 2nd wicket.KXIP needed to chase down the target in 14.2 overs for CSK to slip out of the top 2 and at one point, it did look possible. But Harbhajan Singh’s triple strike made sure the defending champions would return home to the Chepauk to play the first qualifier.Also Read | IPL 2019, KXIP vs CSK: KL Rahul attacks Harbhajan Singh to hit 19-ball fiftyAlso Read | IPL 2019: Faf du Plessis hits career-best 96 as CSK batsmen peak at the right timeAlso Seelast_img read more