KL With a dazzling 56-ball century in his 100th Indian Premier League (IPL) game, Rahul made batting seem like a stroll in the park as Lucknow Super Giants pummeled an out-of-sorts Mumbai Indians to score 199 for four at the Brabourne Stadium on Saturday. Rahul (103 not out off 60 balls) continued his productive record against the Mumbai Indians by smashing nine fours and five sixes. On his approach to his century, he scored 52 runs for the first wicket with Quinton de Kock (24 off 13 balls), 72 with Manish Pandey (38 off 29 balls), and another fast 43 runs for the fourth wicket with Deepak Hooda (15 off 8 balls).

MI’s fielding was possibly their worst in the last four to five seasons, and it didn’t help that Rahul was in imperious form to take advantage of it. Due to a lack of viable choices in the dugout, Rohit Sharma, the tournament’s most successful captain, appeared to be at a loss for ideas when his strategy of deploying an additional spinner in left-arm orthodox Fabian Allen (1/46 in 4 overs) failed.

Jasprit Bumrah is bearing the load well, but one man can’t salvage the squad from the nightmare that has been this season. There were simply too many short balls for Rahul to hit the cuts and pulls he wanted, as well as the slog sweep and some exquisite drives when anything was thrown up.

Between overs 13 and 16, Rahul and his teammates scored 60 runs, and it didn’t hurt that the five-time winners had one of their worst outfield days, unable to hit the boundaries yet after having hold of the ball.