KL Rahul smashed his highest List A score of 131 as Karnataka defeated Kerala by 60 runs in the Vijay Hazare Trophy. (Image credit: Getty Images)
KL Rahul had been struggling for form in the last couple of months and that resulted in his omission from the Indian cricket team for the upcoming three Test series against South Africa. However, Rahul kept the selectors on notice by smashing his highest List A score during the Vijay Hazare Tournament. Rahul blasted 131 as Karnataka secured a magnificent 60-run win against Kerala at the M Chinnaswamy stadium on Saturday. The knock comes as a relief for Rahul who will want to comeback into the Indian cricket team fold soon.
Kerala chose to bowl and they struck with the two quick wickets of Devdutt Padikkal and Krishnamurthy Siddharth. However, Rahul found an able ally in Karnataka skipper Manish Pandey as they shared a 84-run stand. Pandey scored 50 and was dismissed immediately but Rahul continued on his merry ways by sharing a 98-run stand with Shreyas Gopal. Rahul notched up his century and the knock included 10 fours and four sixes as he fell for 131 off 122 balls. Karnataka's innings did not finish well as they lost six wickets for 46 runs to end on 294.
Kerala's innings started poorly when Vinoop Manoharan was run-out by Jagadeesha Suchith but Sanju Samson and Vishnu Vinod shared a solid partnership of 107. However, another run-out, this time of Samson when the batsman was on 67 by Gopal stalled momentum. Robin Uthappa, who has been Karnataka's stalwart for so many years, is currently the skipper of Kerala and when he was dismissed by Gopal, Kerala's innings lost momentum.
Vinod scored his century and the knock included 10 fours and three sixes but when Ronit More took his wicket, the Kerala innings unfolded. More finished with three wickets and Karnataka won by 60 runs. Speaking to ESPNCricinfo after the end of the match, Rahul stressed the importance of discipline on a Chinnaswamy wicket which had excessive help for the bowlers.
"My plan was to bat till 40-45 overs, and I wanted to stick to that. I just want to stay disciplined with my shot selection, get time in the middle and enjoy my batting again. I haven't been in the middle for a while, so just wanted to enjoy spending that time," Rahul said. The right-hander added that his batting approach was like playing out the first session of a Test match as there was regular movement both in the air and off the wicket.
"Batting here in the first 10-15 overs in a day game is quite a challenge, it's like playing out the first session with the red ball. I need to work on my game, so this [batting early on] is a good challenge," Rahul said.