During the 2016 Indian Premier League (IPL) season, KL Rahul joined the Royal Challengers Bangalore’s playing XI at the eleventh hour when Mandeep Singh got injured right before the coin toss. Rahul impressed with a brilliant half-century and played a crucial supporting role to Virat Kohli.
Interestingly, history repeated itself as Rahul found himself in India’s playing XI on Sunday as a replacement for the injured Shreyas Iyer, just minutes before the India vs. Pakistan Asia Cup Super 4 match.
Shreyas Iyer’s sudden back spasms forced him out of the lineup, giving Rahul the opportunity to make his way into the starting XI. Rahul, who had been nursing an injury, returned to the team due to Iyer’s last-minute fitness issue. In his comeback match, Rahul showcased his fitness and talent by scoring a sensational century against Pakistan, forming a record-breaking partnership with Virat Kohli.
“Virat’s innings was brilliantly paced” – Rohit Sharma
Following India’s memorable victory over Pakistan, Captain Rohit Sharma revealed that Rahul was informed of his inclusion a mere five minutes before the toss. Rahul and Kohli achieved a historic 233-run partnership, setting a new record for the highest partnership in Asia Cup history. Both Rahul and Kohli remained unbeaten, with scores of 111 and 122, respectively, as India posted a total of 356/2 in 50 overs.
Reflecting on India’s commanding 228-run win over Pakistan, Rohit also shared his thoughts on the return of fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah, who made an impact by taking the wicket of Imam-ul-Haq.
Rohit Sharma gave an exclusive statement: “Virat’s innings was brilliantly paced. And then KL, last minute to get back from injury and play 5 minutes before the toss. We told him to get ready. Shows the mindset of the player. Looking at how we batted, there were lots of positives with the openers and then Virat and KL.”
Nevertheless, Rohit limited Bumrah’s bowling to just five overs during the pivotal encounter against Pakistan. This Super 4 match, featuring the age-old rivals, marked Bumrah’s inaugural appearance in a 50-over game for the year. The Indian fast bowler had undergone back surgery in March, which kept him sidelined for a significant period.