KL Rahul registered his highest-ever IPL score when he smashed an unbeaten 84 to lead Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) to a comfortable six-wicket win over bottom-placed Rajasthan Royals (RR) in an IPL 2018 match at the Holkar Cricket Stadium in Indore on Sunday night. Rahul has played a key role in KXIP’s brilliant run in the tournament this year. Rahul has three half-centuries to his name this season, one of which was the fastest ever IPL fifty. And while Rahul’s stocks have risen this season, Mumbai Indians and their captain Rohit Sharma have not had the best of times in IPL 2018.
Mumbai languish in fifth spot and are hanging on for a chance to qualify for the playoffs by the skin of their teeth. Sharma too has not been in the best of forms and has even given up his usual opening slot to Suryakumar Yadav, who has grabbed the opportunity with both hands.
Rahul’s brilliant performances this season and Sharma’s struggles have led to many fans believing that the Mumbai skipper should make way for the Kings XI Punjab batsman in the Indian limited overs squad.
While some fans want Sharma to be dropped and Rahul brought in, a few others believe that Sharma should drop down the order and Rahul made to open.
On Sunday, Rahul was again in fine form but instead of adopting his usual attacking strategy, he opted for a more patient knock with Punjab chasing a tricky target. Rahul gave his team the perfect platform before taking on the bowlers and guided his team to an easy win over a hapless Rajasthan team.
Rahul is currently fourth in the list of top run-getters in IPL 2018. He has scored 376 runs in nine matches at an average of 47 and a strike rate of 162.77.
Rahul had scripted history on April 8 against Delhi Daredevils when he scored a fifty in 14 balls — the fastest in the history of IPL. With the feat, he surpassed Sunil Narine and Yusuf Pathan’s record. Both Narine and Pathan had hit their respective fifties in 15 balls each.
In contrast, Sharma has been poor by the high standards he sets. The 31-year-old has scored 231 runs in 10 matches at an average of 28.87 and a strike rate of 142.59.