After three wins on the trot, the refurbished Rising Pune Supergiant had gained some momentum at just the right time in the competition.
And they did more than a decent job in putting up an above par 182 against a quality KKR bowling attack. But what followed was an absolutely brilliant batting display from Robin Uthappa. RPS had no idea where to bowl to him and they didn’t help themselves when they dropped him on 15.
The classy right-hander smashed the ball to all parts of the park in his 43-ball 87 innings. He, along with his skipper, Gautam Gambhir, put up a match-winning partnership of 158 runs. Eventually, KKR beat RPS comfortably by seven wickets.
Here are the player ratings for the match.
Rising Pune Supergiant
Ajinkya Rahane (7.5/10)
The elegant opener got RPS off to a solid start once again. Along with Rahul Tripathi, Rahane mixed caution with aggression in adding a crucial 65 for the first wicket. In his innings of 46, he hit four boundaries and a six. After losing Tripathi, the Mumbaikar joined hands with Smith and provided the perfect platform for an onslaught by MS Dhoni.
His strike rate wasn’t very impressive but his role in the team is to make sure that they don’t lose too many wickets in the first 10 overs and Rahane did it very well.
Rahul Tripathi (8/10)
The aggressive right-hander has certainly been a revelation this season. In a team full of international stars, the local lad has managed to grab attention with some consistent performances.
Tripathi, as he so often has done this season, got RPS off to a dream start. In his innings of 38, he hit seven boundaries. The opener played spin and pace equally well and has definitely proven to be a crucial batsman at the top for RPS.
Steve Smith (8.5/10)
The Aussie captain was at it once again. It’s amazing how consistent he is irrespective of the teams he plays for. Coming in to bat in the eighth over, Smith started off cautiously but accelerated once he got his eye in. In his 37-ball 51, Smith hit four boundaries and sent a wide yorker from Umesh Yadav sailing over the extra cover boundary. It wasn’t the most fluent innings, but he found ways to score boundaries against KKR’s spin bowlers.
MS Dhoni (8.5/10)
It was definitely the Dhoni of old that came out to bat in the 14th over of the RPS innings. He looked full of intent from the very first ball. The former Indian skipper took a liking to Piyush Chawla as he smashed a boundary and a six straight down the ground.
He looked very good in his brief stay of 11 balls, in which he scored 23 runs. But, he was out stumped off a Kuldeep Yadav delivery when he ran down the pitch looking to smash another one into the crowd.
Manoj Tiwary (1/10)
Manoj Tiwary has been quite impressive this season. But, he couldn’t do much for his team this time around. In his brief stay in the middle, he faced 2 balls and scored only one run. He fell victim to another wrong‘un from Kuldeep Yadav.
Daniel Christian (8.5/10)
The Aussie all-rounder played his role superbly, both with bat and ball. Coming in to bat after Manoj Tiwary’s dismissal, Christian scored a quick-fire six-ball 16. After a superb 19th over by Kuldeep Yadav, RPS needed some runs and Christian rose to the occasion as he smashed two sixes in the last over. He was out caught at deep mid-wicket off the last ball of the innings as he looked to slog a maximum.
Christian was also the pick of the bowlers for RPS. While every other bowler conceded runs aplenty, he bowled his quota of four overs for just 7 runs an over. He also prised out Gambhir, though it was too late to have any impact on the game.
Faf du Plessis (Not applicable)
The South African batsman was unfortunate not to get a chance to bat in the game.
Washington Sundar (5/10)
The off-spinner would have been happy after bowling two tight overs in the powerplay. But he went for 20 runs in his third over, conceding two sixes and a four.
Imran Tahir (2/10)
It was an off-day for the South African leg-spinner as he was taken to the cleaners by Uthappa. In his four overs, Tahir went for 48 runs without any wickets to his name. However, he did create an opportunity when he had Uthappa top-edging a slog sweep. However, Jaydev Unadkat, who was patrolling the deep square leg boundary, put down a straightforward chance. Things may have been a whole lot different had he taken that catch.
Shardul Thakur (3.5/10)
Considering it was a day when nothing went Pune’s way, you can’t be very critical of the inexperienced Shardul Thakur. He did bowl two decent overs in the powerplay, but, unfortunately, couldn’t provide a breakthrough. He finished the game with figures of 31-0 in his 3.1 overs.
Jaydev Unadkat (6/10)
The left-armer has had a good season thus far but failed to have an impact against KKR. He bowled two good overs in the powerplay, where he outsmarted Narine with his swing and pace variations. But RPS needed wickets to win this one and Unadkat couldn’t deliver that in his three overs, which went for 26 runs.
Kolkata Knight Riders
Sunil Narine (8/10)
Narine continues to impress with the bat. His innings of 16 included three boundaries and if not for the lazy running that led to his downfall, he could have scored quite a few more. With the ball, he was impressive as ever. In four overs, the West Indian tweaker conceded 34 runs and picked up the important wicket of Ajinkya Rahane.
Gautam Gambhir (8.5/10)
The ever consistent skipper was amongst the runs yet again. After the dismissal of Narine, Gambhir put on a superb partnership of 158 runs with Uthappa. Though he started off particularly slowly, the left-hander upped the ante in the second half of his innings. In all, it was just what was required at that moment.
He scored 66 runs off just 42 deliveries, smashing six fours and a six.
Robin Uthappa (9.5/10)
The Man of the Match, Robin Uthappa was absolutely brilliant with the bat as well as with the gloves. He treated all the RPS bowlers equally critically and smashed a match-winning 47-ball 87, hitting seven boundaries and six big sixes in the process. He was also impressive with the gloves, as he took a good catch to dismiss Rahane and caused two brilliant stumpings.
Darren Bravo (5/10)
The West Indian batsman had to wait a long time to make his IPL debut but it was a decent one as he scored the winning runs for his team. He scored 6 runs in five balls, however, he was a bit sloppy in the field and would want to do better the next time.
Manish Pandey (Not applicable)
The right-hander didn’t face a ball and was stranded at the non-striker’s end as Darren Bravo hit the winning runs.
Yusuf Pathan (Not applicable)
The hard-hitting ability of Yusuf Pathan was not required by KKR as Uthappa and Gambhir scored most of the runs.
Colin de Grandhomme (6/10)
The Kiwi all-rounder didn’t get a chance to bat, but he did bowl two economical overs. He bowled a brilliant stump-to-stump line and conceded just 14 runs.
Chris Woakes (2/10)
The fast-bowler had a disappointing outing with the ball. He struggled in the powerplay and conceded 20 runs in two overs. When he came on to bowl at the death, he was smashed for two sixes which further damaged his figures. In total, he went for 38 runs in three overs.
Kuldeep Yadav (8.5/10)
The left-arm leggie keeps getting better with every game. He troubled the RPS batsmen with fine variations, particularly his wrong‘un. He dismissed Dhoni at just the right time for KKR as the former Indian skipper was looking in great touch. He also got the wicket of Manoj Tiwary in the same over.
In his four overs, the young wrist-spinner conceded just 31 runs. The fact that he bowled the 18th over with Smith and Dhoni at the crease and conceded just five runs is a testament to his abilities.
Piyush Chawla (6.5/10)
The wrist-spinner provided the first breakthrough as he dismissed Rahul Tripathi. Tripathi was looking in great nick and had he batted for few more overs, KKR would have been chasing a lot more than 182. Chawla varied his pace very nicely and kept the batsmen guessing for the most part. In his final over, he conceded 15 runs and that ruined his bowling figures.
Umesh Yadav (6/10)
The Indian pacer too had an ordinary day in the middle. He failed to make inroads early in the powerplay. In the three overs that he bowled, Yadav gave away 28 runs and picked up one wicket. The only wicket he scalped came in the last delivery of the innings.