With a breathtaking 50-ball 91, Punjab Kings skipper KL Rahul answered his critics in style on Monday. Rahul’s whirlwind knock was laced with five sixes and seven boundaries as he finished his with a staggering strike rate of 182.00. Impressed by Rahul’s knock, former India cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar admitted that he was happy with Rahul’s strike rate.

“Loved the 91 but loved the strike rate even more! If K L Rahul bats at a strike rate of over 140, which he can easily, Punjab Kings will have a much better IPL than the last,” Manjrekar said on ESPNCricinfo.

Earlier, PBKS batting coach Wasim Jaffer had hinted that Rahul would bat more freely at the top of the order with Mayank Agarwal after the franchise was criticised for not being aggressive at the top.

“KL batted a little timidly last season. He probably batted deeper because there was not much batting after No. 5, and Glenn Maxwell was not firing. He took that responsibility on himself to try and stay at the crease and get the job done. This time around, everyone will see an aggressive KL Rahul for sure,” Jaffer had told the Times of India.

Rahul’s knock helped the Punjab franchise post a mammoth 221 in their stipulated 20 overs, a score that proved to be too good for the Royals eventually despite a century by Sanju Samson on captaincy debut.

It finally boiled down to 13 to get off six balls for the Royals – who had a set Samson in the middle. Young Arshdeep Singh was handed the ball and he held his nerves and did the job for his captain to help PBKS win the match by four runs.