Former India pacer Dodda Ganesh came down heavily on KL Rahul for his approach, terming his knock “the most hideous innings played in the history of IPL”.
Lucknow Super Giants captain KL Rahul’s laborious 20-ball innings against Royal Challengers Bangalore in an IPL 2023 match came under the scanner despite his side’s thrilling last-ball victory at the Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru on Monday. In a T20 match, where 213 was chased down, LSG captain KL Rahul scored 18 off 20 balls at a strike rate of 90. He was the only batter (with more than 10 balls) to have scored at a strike rate of less than 125 in the high-scoring fixture. Despite batting in the powerplay in the 213-run chase, Rahul hit only one boundary in his stay in the middle.
If it wasn’t for some outrageous hitting Marcus Stoinis (65 off 30) and Nicholas Pooran (62 off 19) then LSG would have had no chance whatsoever of winning the match. Former India pacer Dodda Ganesh came down heavily on Rahul for his approach, terming his knock “the most hideous innings played in the history of IPL”.
“Not one shot with intent from KL Rahul in the PP while chasing 213. Don’t know what’s in his mind. You simply can’t bat like this,” Doda tweeted.
“This innings from KL Rahul has to be the most hideous innings played in the history of IPL ever considering the context of the game. Man. What’s in his mind? Seriously. This can’t happen for so long at this level. It’s not school cricket,” he added.
The fact that LSG lost in-form opener Kyle Mayers and all-rounder Krunal Pandya for ducks and in between Deepak Hooda also went for just 9, may have had a major role to play in the subdued manner in which Rahul batted in the first six overs despite the daunting asking rate.
“If I score more runs, the strike-rate will go up. I looked at the situation and I feel I had done the right thing. Hopefully, with a couple of good knocks the strike rate will go up,” Rahul said, following LSG’s one-wicket win.
Rahul, in the 72 T20Is he has played has scored 2,265 runs at a strike rate of 139.12, and his overall strike rate in the shortest format is just 136.93. His strike-rate is more about making it up towards the end.
In the end, Rahul’s stay at the crease only added to the pressure on the likes of Pooran and Ayush Badoni to accelerate the run-rate. In fact, Marcus Stoinis, who came in at No.5, was left with little choice but to go for the big hits from the word go, smashing a 30-ball 65 to infuse some life into the innings.
Rahul, who has played most of his cricket in formative years at the Chinnaswamy Stadium, said, “From the position we were in, we were chasing 210-plus and we knew we had to go hard and attack. But, sometimes, when you do that you lose wickets. Unbelievable, I mean it’s Chinnaswamy. I’ve grown up here and I think it’s the stadium with the most last-ball finishes.
“They (RCB) bowled well in the powerplay, they swung it well. But the way Stoinis and Pooran played, if we have two points today it’s because of them.”
Badoni chipped in with 30 off 24 balls.
Rahul added, “If you look at the middle order, No. 5, 6 and 7, they win you the crunch games. The top order will get the bulk of runs but it’s those positions that matter and that’s why we invested in power in Pooran, Stoinis and Badoni. And Badoni is learning to finish games.”