India batsman Lokesh Rahul has set a new Indian Premier League record, slapping the fastest ever half-century in the Twenty20 tournament's history.
Playing his first match for his new franchise, Rahul needed just 14 balls to bring up the milestone in a blistering start to Kings XI Punjab's run-chase against the Ricky Ponting-coached Delhi Daredevils on Sunday evening.
The stunning display saw the previous IPL benchmark of 15 balls set by Yusuf Pathan in 2014 and matched by Sunil Narine last year erased from the record books.
. 2 . 6 4 4 6 4 1 4 6 6 4 4 . W KL Rahul was seeing them okay! https://t.co/16vif1PaGN pic.twitter.com/uSe3P2S7v1— cricket.com.au (@CricketAus) April 8, 2018
One of the most expensive signings at 11 Crore ($A2.1 million) during January's auction, Rahul needed fewer than three overs to pay the Kings XI back and post the equal-third fastest fifty in T20 cricket.
After Delhi set the hosts 167 to win, Rahul flew out of the blocks as he took New Zealand quick Trent Boult for 16 off the first over of his side's reply.
The 23-Test batsman helped take 12 off Mohammad Shami's next over before unleashing on leg-spinner Amit Mishra in an astonishing display of clean hitting.
Rahul went 4, 6, 6, 4, 4 to bring up his whirlwind half-century, ticking Punjab's total past 50 as well.
After three overs, Kings XI were 0-52 with Rahul's opening partner Mayank Agarwal, incredibly, on one off three balls.
Agarwal finally got in on the act when he launched South African Chris Morris for six over cover before departing the following ball.
That brought Yuvraj Singh, whose 12-ball 50 against England at the 2007 World T20 is the joint fastest all-time quickest half-century, to the crease but the Mohali crowd's hopes of a dual onslaught were ended soon after.
Boult returned to claim Rahul for 51, the left-armer extracting his revenge as Shami took a smart catch off a leading edge at short fine-leg.
RAHUL'S RECORD 50 - BALL BY BALL
. 2 . 6 4 4 6 4 1 4 6 6 4 4 . W
FASTEST IPL HALF-CENTURIES
KL Rahul – 14 balls (Kings XI Punjab v Delhi Daredevils, 2018)
Yusuf Pathan – 15 balls (Kolkata Knight Riders v Sunrisers Hyderabad, 2014)
Sunil Narine – 15 balls (Kolkata Knight Riders v Royal Challengers Bangalore, 2017)
Suresh Raina – 16 balls (Chennai Super Kings v Kings XI Punjab, 2014)
Adam Gilchrist – 17 balls (Deccan Chargers v Delhi Daredevils, 2009)