KL Rahul played one of his most memorable one-day international knocks as his scintillating 80 off just 52, batting at No. 5, pushed India to a competitive 340/6 in the second ODI against Australia at the Saurashtra Cricket Association (SCA) Stadium in Rajkot on Friday.
En route his 80, Rahul also reached the 1000-run mark in ODIs and becomes the third fastest Indian to achieve the milestone.
The list for the fastest Indians to reach 1000 runs is led by Virat Kohli and Shikhar Dhawan, who took 24 innings to reach the milestone. Former India batsman Navjot Singh Sidhu arrived at the feat in 25 innings, while Rahul took 27 innings to bring up the feat.
Rahul, who scored 47 in the first ODI at the Wankhede, entered at a precarious situation after Shreyas Iyer was cleaned up by Adam Zampa for 7 in the 33rd over.
Rahul then stitched a brilliant 78-run partnership for the fourth wicket with his captain Virat Kohli to put the hosts back in the driver’s seat. However, just as India were beginning with their onslaught in the last 10 overs, Kohli fell for 78 after he tried to clear the mid-on boundary ropes, but was caught right on the line by Ashton Agar, who threw the ball back to Mitchell Starc. Zampa had his name written again on Kohli’s wicket. Kohli’s 76-ball innings was laced with six boundaries.
Rahul then shouldered the responsibility to take India across the 300-run mark. He played some of the most exquisite shots, one among them coming in the 46th over when he played a lofted drive over deep extra cover off Starc almost showing no respect to one of the greatest white-ball express-pace bowlers of the age.
Rahul departed in the last over after he was run out by wicketkeeper Alex Carey, his fabulous knock studded with six boundaries and three sixes.