Monday Jun 24, 2024
Monday Jun 24, 2024

KL Rahul Returns to Top Form

2023 Oct 09, 13:26, Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India]

Former Indian spinner Anil Kumble lauded batter KL Rahul for his match-winning performance against Australia in the ICC Cricket World Cup opener at Chennai on Sunday, saying that he is back to his original self and the experience and deep batting he brings to the middle-order augurs well for the Men in Blue.

A calm partnership between Virat Kohli and KL Rahul helped India secure a six-wicket victory over Australia at Chennai's Chepauk stadium to kickstart their ICC Cricket World Cup campaign.

"It looks like KL Rahul is back to his original self like we have all seen and we all know what he can do on the field. His skill and class on any surface, ability to play spin and pace is great. His consistency is impressive," said Kumble in a video by ESPNCricinfo.

Kumble said that he has understood his role as a middle-order batter really well and is exceptional against spin.

"Yeah, I think he has understood his role really well. He has an exceptional ability to play spin. That is something you need as a middle-order batter. The other part of KL Rahul, VK and other batters is their ability to hit good deliveries. In 50-overs, it is not only about hitting fours and sixes, it is about soaking pressure on a good deck and playing slightly longer, to the situation. It is something KL has done well. It solves a lot of problems for the team. The experience he brings in that situation and being there till the end really augurs well for India," said Kumble.

In 14 ODIs this year, KL has scored 628 runs at an average of 78.50 and a strike rate of over 86. He has scored a century and five fifties in 13 innings, with the best score of 111*.

KL has clearly taken a liking to the middle-order role. In 11 ODIs at number four spot, he has 481 runs at an average of 60.12 and a strike rate of above 88. He has two tons and two fifties here, with the best of 111*. The number five seems to be perfect for him. In 21 ODIs at this position, he has 904 runs at an average of 56.50 and a strike rate of above 96. He has a century and eight fifties in 21 innings, with the best score of 112.

He has batted in the middle-order this year. Overall at these above positions in 32 ODIs, he has 1,385 runs at an average of 57.70. He has scored three tons and 10 fifties in the middle order, with the best score of 112.

Coming to the WC match between India and Australia, Australia lost Mitchell Marsh for a duck, but opener David Warner (41 in 52 balls with six fours) and Steve Smith (46 in 71 balls with five fours) helped the Aussies recover with their 69-run second-wicket partnership. Marnus Labuschagne (27) tried to take the Aussie innings forward with Smith, but following Smith's dismissal, Australia faced a collapse.

The spin trio of Ravindra Jadeja (3/28), Kuldeep Yadav (2/42) and Ravichandran Ashwin (1/34) wreaked havoc on Australia's line-up of recognised batters while the pace trio of Jasprit Bumrah (2/35), Mohammed Siraj (1/26) and Hardik Pandya (1/28) removed the lower order, sinking Australia from 110/3 to 199 all out in 49.3 overs. Mitchell Starc (28) tried to help the Aussies play the full quota of 50 overs, but he failed.

In the chase of 200, India lost Ishan Kishan, skipper Rohit Sharma and Shreyas Iyer for ducks, leaving India at 2/3. Then a 165-run stand between Virat (85 in 116 balls with six fours) and KL Rahul (97* in 115 balls with eight fours and two sixes) helped India secure a six-wicket win. Josh Hazlewood (3/38) was the best bowler for Australia.


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