KL Rahul has struggled to finish off matches for the Punjab Kings

Dawid Malan target

KL Rahul has struggled to finish off matches for the Punjab Kings

KL Rahul has struggled to finish off matches for the Punjab Kings

October 5, 2021

Author 77baji

KL Rahul has scored a half-century and appears likely to break the Punjab Kings' recent losing streak against the Kolkata Knight Riders. The PBKS captain has not only marshalled his soldiers well, but he has also steered a middle-order that has been prone to capitulation on occasion, particularly when chasing.

With Shahrukh Khan on strike, the Punjab Kings needed 5 runs off 6 balls when Venkatesh Iyer came in to bowl the final over. The all-rounder gives up the strike on the opening delivery, giving Rahul the perfect platform to end the innings on a high note.

Venkatesh Iyer strolls to the bowling crease and bowls a slower delivery that lands in what is known in white-ball cricket as the "slot." Rahul's eyes sparkle. After all, this is the moment of triumph that he and the Punjab Kings have been looking forward to for the past few weeks.

It also breaks far too frequently for Punjab's liking. Rahul not only mistimes his attempted big shot in a high-pressure moment, but he also lobs a catch to the sweeper at long-off. Then, out of nowhere, it snaps. With a solitary set hitter and another who has just entered the fray, PBKS is back under pressure and now needs 4 runs off 4 balls.

In a match against KKR in 2020, the Punjab Kings cruised to win. Rahul had also been the main character on that occasion. At least until the 19th century, when he lasted long enough to become the antagonist.

Something similar happened this year when the Rajasthan Royals and the Mumbai Indians clashed swords. Although Rahul did not bat for long in that innings, it is possible that his errant shot and consequent removal were the catalysts for the collapse.

While it may seem a little far-fetched to assume that a single incident in the 12th over could have such tremendous consequences, it indeed becomes the case when discussing Rahul's colossal contribution to the Punjab Kings.

There's no denying that Rahul's fortunes have coincided with PBKS during the last three seasons. Simply put, when Rahul performs well, Punjab performs well. When he doesn't, they're generally relegated to the realm of mediocrity.

This story, however, has a different angle to it. Since joining the Punjab Kings, the wicket-keeper batsman has never really been off of form. He has finished among the top five run scorers in each of the four editions of the Indian Premier League in which he has participated.