A memorable 100th match for Rahul

K.L. Rahul made his 100th IPL match a special one with a sublime unbeaten century (103 n.o., 60b, 9×4, 5×6) as Lucknow Super Giants handed Mumbai Indians its sixth straight defeat of the season at the Brabourne Stadium here on Saturday.

Rahul’s century powered the Super Giants to 199 for four before his bowlers, led by Avesh Khan (three for 30), produced a brilliant performance to script an 18-run win.

The Super Giants skipper has had to face criticism for his scoring rate in T20s. But on Saturday, he was able to shift gears seamlessly as he toyed with the Mumbai bowling attack without taking any risks.

Chasing 200 for victory, Mumbai openers Rohit Sharma and Ishan Kishan failed to deliver yet again.

Like in the previous game, Dewald Brevis came up with another dazzling cameo, slamming five boundaries and a six in his knock of 31 off just 13 balls. He went after Dushmantha Chameera, hitting him for a six and two fours in one over.

Brevis then followed it up with two more boundaries off Avesh before the latter won the battle when Brevis hit a full toss straight to the cover fielder. Suryakumar Yadav top-scored with 37 before he pulled a long-hop to square-leg off Ravi Bishnoi.

The wicket pretty much sealed the five-time champion’s fate. Earlier, asked to bat, the Super Giants got off to a blazing start, thanks to Quinton de Kock, who struck two boundaries each off M. Ashwin and Jayadev Unadkat. He put on 52 for the opening wicket with Rahul.

The captain attacked Tymal Mills in the fifth over, hitting the left-arm pacer for two boundaries and a six over point. While it took Rahul 23 balls for his first 30 runs, he raced to his half-century off the next 10 with a couple of sixes off M. Ashwin and Unadkat.

Unstoppable

Thereafter, the Super Giants skipper was unstoppable as he and Manish Pandey (38, 29b, 6×4) hit Mills for two boundaries each in the 13th over.

In Fabian Allen’s last over, Rahul cut the left-arm spinner for a boundary before pulling and slog-sweeping him for consecutive sixes. He reached his century with two boundaries through the off-side off Mills, who conceded 54 in three overs.

Mumbai Indians yet again paid the price for an indifferent bowling effort despite Jasprit Bumrah, Unadkat and M. Ashwin’s decent efforts. Mills and Allen conceded a whopping 100 runs in the seven overs between them, which ultimately made the target too steep.

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