Along with skipper Rohit Sharma, whose swashbuckling starts in the ongoing edition of the ODI World Cup has been overshadowed by the batting brilliance of India’s ‘milestone man’ Virat Kohli and middle-order bulwark Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul, who has also been keeping wickets in the tournament, has been an unsung hero for the hosts in their charge to the final.
An unbeaten India will face five-time world champions Australia in the final of the ongoing ODI World Cup in cricket’s biggest arena — the Narendra Modi Stadium of Ahmedabad — on Sunday.
The ‘Men in Blue’ stormed into the finals after a 70-run victory over New Zealand on Wednesday. After Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill’s explosive start, Virat Kohli and Shreyas Iyer scored a ton each to put India on course to a massive target.
India wicketkeeper batter KL Rahul then arrived to apply the finishing touches to power India to a score of 397/4. With New Zealand seemingly in control of the chase, India’s pace hero Mohammed Shami struck telling blows in the later overs to take the wind out of the Kiwi sails and finish with seven wickets, the most by any Indian in ODI World Cup history.
In a single piece of statistic that puts Rahul in focus ahead of the title showdown between the two cricketing giants on Sunday, the lanky Bengaluru batter has the most runs against Australia in seven innings across formats this year, at 349.
The 31-year-old boasts scores of 75*, 9, 32, 58*, 52, 26, and 97* against the Pat Cummins-led side this year at an average of 87.25.
In India’s match against the ‘Baggy Greens’ in the league phase earlier, Rahul top-scored for India with 97 off 115 balls, lifting Team India from a precarious situation to a win in the company of Virat Kohli at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai.
In the ongoing tournament, Rahul has scored 386 runs with a strike rate of 98.72 across nine innings. While he narrowly missed out on a century in Chennai, Rahul made some telling contributions in the back-end to help the hosts post some tall scores in the tournament.
Rahul limped off injured in an Indian Premier League (IPL) match between Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) and Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) on May 1, putting him out of international cricket for a considerable amount of time.
And if the World Cup was a quest for redemption for him, it won’t be wrong to say that he has come out with flying colours. (ANI)