KL Rahul continued his blistering form in the shortest format of the game as he smashed his second Twenty20 International century and led India to an emphatic 8-wicket win over England in the 1st T20I of the three-match series in Manchester on Tuesday. An ecstatic Indian skipper Virat Kohli took to Twitter and hailed Rahul's unbeaten knock of 101 off 54 balls at the Old Trafford. "What a knock by the Baaaaas @klrahul11," the 29-year-old tweeted. Chasing a target of 160, Rahul was promoted by Kohli to bat at number three after India lost an early wicket of Shikhar Dhawan when the scoreboard read 7 in the first over of the innings.
The onus was then on Rahul to live up to the expectations of his captain. However, he did not just hit a century but also ensured India crossed the finish line with the help of his stupendous knock that came at a strike-rate of 187.04, including 10 fours and five sixes. In the end, India won the game by eight wickets with 10 balls to spare.
"He's someone who has come a long way, he batted so clean, so crisp in the IPL and he has carried it forward," the India skipper said while praising Rahul at the post-match presentation.
"We want guys like him to step up, so other guys can play with more freedom. He can bat long as well. He's very hungry, has great technique, and it's a great sign for Indian cricket," Kohli added.
With a century in the first T20I, Rahul became just the second Indian batsman to score two tons in the shortest format of the game. Apart from him, only Rohit Sharma has achieved this milestone. Surprisingly, Kohli is yet to touch the three-figure mark in T20I cricket. He has the highest score of 90* in this format of the game.
India started their much-anticipated tour of England on a bright note by taking a 1-0 lead in the three-match T20I series. The second T20I will be played at Sophia Gardens, Cardiff on Friday.