KL Rahul's star performance in India's victory over Sri Lanka in the second Twenty20 in Indore is another indicator of the good year the star batsman is expected to have.
Rahul struck 45 from 32 deliveries, as India chased down a tricky 144-run target with 15 deliveries to spare. He was the hunter and gatherer, collecting six fours. Captain Virat Kohli, meanwhile, hit the big sixes as India took a one-nil lead in the three-match series. The first Twenty20 in Guwahati was washed out, so India can't lose the series.
“It was a smaller target and my plans were simple which is to spend some time in the middle. Our bowlers bowled really well and anything around 170 on this wicket would have been par,” said Rahul.
“A lot of credit must go to the bowlers. I've just been getting runs and the reading of the game has gotten a lot better and knowing how to build my innings again. I felt that was lacking and I always knew I had the game to get runs and it was just a matter of spending time in the middle, really happy to carry on the same way.
“We all go out there with a simple plan which is to win the game for your country.”
KL Rahul in IPL 13
Rahul has been named captain of the Kings XI Punjab for the 2020 Indian Premier League. The appointment carries on the 27-year-old's favour in the IPL. He has played for the Royal Challengers Bangalore and Sunrisers Hyderabad – and is well placed to dominate for the KXIP in IPL 13. He has taken over the captaincy from Ravichandran Ashwin, who has been traded to the Delhi Capitals.
“As the management, our main objective is to look at the options available and then decide on the best possible combination. KL has been with us for a few seasons now and he is not only a star batsman, but also leads from the front,” KXIP co-owner Ness Wadia was quoted as saying by Sportstar recently.
“We had a discussion with Anil Kumble, who is the head coach and we agreed to name him the skipper. We are confident that he will achieve more success for the franchise.”
The Kings XI Punjab are not among the early favourites to win the 2020 IPL, but are a promising pick for the title anyway. They have recruited well and, with Rahul as skipper, are chasing their first title this season.
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The hard-hitting Rahul will likely be named in India's squad for the T20 World Cup in Australia later this year as well. He is averaging over 43 with a strike rate above 146 after 36 T20Is. These are really good numbers, untouched by a lot other Indian batsmen and batters from other countries. When the individual batting markets for the T20 World Cup open, he will probably be among the most popular cricket bets.
India won the first ever ICC T20 World Cup (it was called the World Twenty20 at the time). They have reached one final since, but have not won another title. They have been put in Group 2 with Afghanistan, England and South Africa for the 2020 T20 World Cup. England won the tournament in 2010 and, with India, are among the favourites for the ICC Twenty20 World Cup this year.
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