Kolkata Knight Riders maintained their winning record at the MCA Stadium on Wednesday after romping to their straight sixth victory here with a seven-wicket win over Rising Pune Supergiant. (HIGHLIGHTS | SCORECARD)
Kolkata Knight Riders began the second half of IPL-10 in a thumping fashion, which was similar to their opening clash 10-wicket win over Gujarat Lions. Skipper Gautam Gambhir (46-ball 62) and Robin Uthappa (47-ball 87) forged a 158-run second wicket partnership to chase down Rising Pune Supergiant’s 182 for five with 11 balls to spare. The win helped KKR go on top of the points table, dislodging Mumbai Indians. (IPL 2017 FULL COVERAGE)
The odds were always stacked against Rising Pune Supergiant, who have won only once batting first in their IPL history at the MCA Stadium and had never beaten Kolkata Knight Riders on their home ground.
Fruitful day for Uthappa
Uthappa had a fruitful day with the batting and wicketkeeping gloves. After effecting three stumpings (Ajinkya Rahane, MS Dhoni and Manoj Tiwary), Uthappa was at his best with the bat.
Uthappa made the most of the life he got when he was on 12 after RPS bowler Jaydev Unadkat dropped a catch at deep midwicket which rolled over the boundary rope.
Post the dropped catch Uthappa simply exploded, scoring 49 runs off his next 15 balls. Uthappa showed no mercy to young pacer Washington Sundar as he slammed him for a four and consecutive sixes to take 20 runs off his third over.
He even dispatched Imran Tahir for a six over long-on. In the next over it was Unadkat’s turn as Uthappa hit two boundaries before skipper Gautam Gambhir ended the over with a boundary to take 14 runs off it.
Gambhir didn’t have the best of the start to his innings as he took 10 balls to hit his first boundary.
But there wasn’t any need for Gambhir to take any risk as his partner Uthappa did all the big-hitting. Gambhir played anchor role to perfection, rotating the strike as much as possible and hitting the odd balls to the fence.
Gambhir and Uthappa faced no trouble whatsoever from the Rising Pune Supergiant bowlers as runs flowed freely all around the park. By the time Uthappa and Gambhir were dismissed, the damage was already done.
Captain Steven Smith (unbeaten 51) built on the fine start provided by Rahul Tripathi (38) and Ajinkya Rahane (46) – their second consecutive 50-plus opening stand. While Tripathi became the first player to score 30-plus runs in his last six IPL innings, Rahane looked set for his maiden IPL-10 half-century, but was stumped by Uthappa.
Smith once again showed his street-smartness and the class that he possess. When Rahane was in full flow, Smith was happy to step back to give more strike to his partner.
It was a similar case when Dhoni (11-ball 23) arrived. Smith did the right thing to give as much strike to Dhoni, who straightaway started middling from the first ball. Dhoni on Wednesday showed that his brutal powers are still intact when he slammed two sixes -- first over Chawla and the other off Kuldeep.
The young Chinaman, however, had the last laugh as he foxed Dhoni to step out only to deceive him on a googly. Uthappa did the rest.
Kuldeep kept the wicketkeeper busy as he claimed his second wicket when Manoj Tiwary (1) was stumped. The two wickets in Kuldeep’s over slowed down Rising Pune Supergiant as KKR conceded only seven and five runs off 17th and 18th overs, respectively.