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Lokesh Rahul smashes fastest ever IPL 50, off just 14 balls

AN Indian cricket star renowned mainly for his Test cricket smashed the fastest half century ever seen in the IPL — before almost watching his record fall.

OPENING batsman Lokesh Rahul has smashed the fastest half-century in Indian Premier League history off only 14 balls and led his new franchise Kings XI Punjab to a six-wicket win over Delhi Daredevils.

Sunil Narine nearly matched Rahul when he hit 50 off 17 balls in Kolkata Knight Riders’ four-wicket victory over Royal Challengers Bangalore at Eden Gardens in Sunday’s other match.
Rahul’s 51 featured six fours and four sixes as Punjab reached 4-167 in 18.5 overs with Karun Nair (50 off 33 balls) also in fine form.

Delhi, after being put into bat by new Punjab skipper Ravichandran Ashwin, scored 7-166.

“For years, I’ve been branded a Test cricketer,” Rahul said. “It’s good for me to be up there, creating history and breaking records. Hope to continue this way.” The 17-year-old spinner Mujeebur Rahman picked up 2-28 off four overs and the Afghan also ran out top scorer Gautam Gambhir (55) to cap a dream IPL debut as the youngest-ever player.

Australia’s Dan Christian made 13 for Delhi while countryman Marcus Stoinis took 0-7 from his solitary over.

At Eden Gardens, Narine’s brisk half century lifted Kolkata, who boast Mitchell Johnson and Chris Lynn in their line-up, to 6-177 in 18.5 overs after Bangalore were restricted to 7-176.

AB de Villiers (44 off 23) and captain Virat Kohli (31 off 33) were going strong before falling to part-time spinner Nitish Rana in the 15th over and Bangalore got 44 off its last five overs after being put into bat.

De Villiers smashed Rana for a six off the first ball but holed out at mid-on and Kohli missed out on a fuller delivery and was clean bowled. “We were 15 short with the bat, myself included,” Kohli said. “Me and AB getting out in two balls to a part-timer was game-changing as well.” West Indies left-hander Narine hit five sixes and four boundaries before he played on to Umesh Yadav in the sixth over.

England’s Chris Woakes picked up 3-36, but Narine had done enough damage at the top.

Captain Dinesh Karthik (35 not out) eased the chase when he combined with Rana (34) for a half-century stand.

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