Bengaluru lad K.L. Rahul showed little concern for allegiance to home, dismantling Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) with a sparkling unbeaten century for Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) at the Dubai International Stadium on Thursday. Rahul’s 69-ball 132, laced with 14 fours and seven sixes, propelled KXIP to a comfortable 97-run victory.

KXIP amassed 206 for three in 20 overs before skittling out RCB for 109 in 17 overs. Rahul, a former RCB player, was in full flow while recording his second IPL century. He got going with two crisp square-cuts off Dale Steyn, which pierced the tight off-side field. Umesh Yadav was not spared either, with Rahul launching into the fast bowler in the 10th over.

Yuzvendra Chahal was the pick of the bowlers once again, but when the leg-spinner strayed on the pads, Rahul unleashed the sweep to good effect. The 28-year-old cut loose in the last three overs, smashing five sixes and three fours.

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Quite uncharacteristically, RCB skipper Virat Kohli dropped two sitters in the deep. Rahul, the beneficiary on both occasions, could hardly believe his luck. The KXIP skipper ended up scoring more than half of his team’s total.

The RCB pacers, meanwhile, made life easy for KXIP. Umesh sprayed it down the leg much too often, while Steyn bowled too short and wide. Even Navdeep Saini, the team’s standout pacer, could not maintain a good length and was punished.

The slide begins

RCB’s troubles continued in a poor chase. The side lost three wickets in the first three overs, including that of key man Kohli.  Opener Devdutt Padikkal, who had shown much promise in the previous match, was cramped for room by left-arm seamer Sheldon Cottrell. The left-hander’s awkward pull sliced to Ravi Bishnoi at mid-on.

Young Australian wicketkeeper-batsman Josh Philippe was trapped on the pads by Mohammed Shami for a duck. The wicket of Kohli (1, 5b), who was dismissed in similar fashion to Padikkal, spelt big trouble for RCB.

READ | RCB vs KXIP, IPL 2020: Former Bangalore man KL Rahul slams 132 for Punjab, highest score ever by an Indian batsman

Not enough

Aaron Finch (20, 21b) and A.B. de Villiers (28, 18b) tried to repair the damage, but their 49-run stand was inadequate. The rest of the contest drudged along without much purpose, as RCB was well and truly out of it. Leggies Bishnoi and M. Ashwin picked up three wickets each for KXIP.

The Punjab side notched up its first win in two matches, while the Bengaluru outfit was humbled after a sparkling start to its campaign a few days earlier.