After their impressive win over defending champions Mumbai Indians last time out, Punjab Kings (PBKS) have stuttered yet again in their ongoing clash against the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR). Punjab saw their top-order collapse yet again handing Eoin Morgan and co. the advantage. That collapse was the topic of debate in the commentary team, with Harsha Bhogle and Kevin Pietersen both addressing KL Rahul and his role at the top of the order for Punjab.
KL Rahul has been a regular for Punjab at the top order since his move in 2018 and has been a guarantee runs for the franchise which has largely struggled to get their combinations right in the IPL. However, while the runs continue to flow from his blade, his strike rate has been the topic of debate amongst fans and analysts alike, which has cost Punjab in recent times. The drop in strike rate is stark since he was named captain ahead of the 2020 season, in a season where he scored 670 runs at a rate of 129.34. This year, the Punjab captain scores at a rate of 129.34, a steep drop from his numbers of 146.49, 158.41 and 135.38 in three previous seasons.
KL Rahul's innings on Monday was questioned early on while Harsha Bhogle and Kevin Pietersen were in the commentary. The Punjab Kings captain got off to a slow start again, to which Bhogle pointed out how the Team India star's strike rate over the years had seen a sharp decline. Kevin Pietersen opined that the pressure and responsibility of captaincy could be a factor in Rahul taking his time at the crease.
Bhogle quickly trolled the former England skipper, suggesting that leadership did not change his style of play when he captained England and RCB, debunking his defence of KL Rahul and his scoring rate. However, Pietersen took it in a sporting spirit and replied that he did not have a brain at all while batting as captain, but Rahul is a 'superstar' of the game who is in control of his batting. The Karnataka batsman has been among the runs this IPL as well, scoring 240 runs in six innings, at a strike rate of 129.03. Against KKR on Monday, Rahul succumbed to a 20-ball 19 though, with a strike rate of 95.
Innings Break: @CJordan 30 (18) provides the much-needed push as #PBKS score 123-9 in 20 overs.— IndianPremierLeague (@IPL) April 26, 2021
It has been a disciplined bowling performance from #KKRðð¾@prasidh43 takes 3/30
ðhttps://t.co/sBoaBIpF2J #PBKSvKKR #VIVOIPL pic.twitter.com/PihUxGbuDJ
Kolkata Knight Riders will be happy with their bowling effort after they restricted the Punjab Kings to just 123 in their 20 overs in the PBKS vs KKR live. Shivam Mavi set the tone with a deadly opening spell, with Pat Cummins and Prasidh Krishna chipping in with wickets. Sunil Narine and Varun Chakravarthy broke the back of the Punjab middle-order before Krishna came back to finish the work. PBKS batsmen struggled to get going, with Chris Jordan's late cameo their only saving grace. The IPL 2021 live scores can be found on IPLT20.com.
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