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Steven Smith and Gautam Gambhir during the toss © BCCI
Rahul Tripathi enhanced his already-growing reputation by hammering a breezy 52-ball 93 in front of a 59,000 odd fans to sink the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in their fortress in match 41 of Indian Premier League (IPL) 2017. Chasing 156, Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS) steered to victory losing 6 wickets and with 4 balls to spare. Their innings was all about Tripathi, as the youngster wreaked havoc with 9 fours and 7 sixes during his knock, narrowly missing out on a well-deserved hundred. With this victory, RPS have now climbed to the third spot in the points table with 7 wins from 11 games. On the other hand, KKR continue to remain at the second spot, being ahead on the NRR with same number of wins with Mumbai Indians (MI). Full cricket scorecard: KKR vs RPS, Match 41
Chris Woakes fared best among the bowlers for the hosts (3 for 18) taking the wickets of Pune and Australia skipper Steven Smith (9) and in-form Manoj Tiwary (8) off two excellent deliveries. Umesh Yadav (1 for 22) removed India teammate Ajinkya Rahane (11) early but it was Tripathi who remained unfazed and took the charges against the likes of Nathan Coulter-Nile whom he spanked for 32 runs. Ben Stokes, the hero of Pune’s last game against Gujarat Lions (GL), departed for 14 but by the time the million-dollar England all-rounder trotted back towards the dugout, the job was all but done.
MS Dhoni to loud cheers only to make the long walk back to the dressing room scoring just 5 with Kuldeep Yadav picking his wicket. Tripathi was finally dismissed by Woakes, seven runs short of his maiden ton but Dan Christian (9 not out) hit the winning runs with a six off Colin de Grandhomme in the final over.
Earlier, the New Zealand all-rounder Grandhomme’s 36 and Manish Pandey’s 37 saved KKR the blushes as the hosts recovered from a top-order collapse to post 155 for 8. Jaydev Unadkat (2 for 28) and Washington Sundar (2 for 18) were the best bowlers for Pune. Grandhomme (36 of 19 balls) and Pandey (37 of 19 balls) joined hands when their side were tottering at 55 for 4 to stitch together a 48-run stand for the fifth wicket.
Suryakumar Yadav (30 off 16 not out) struck some lusty blows at the death hitting two consecutive fours and a six off Unadkat who leaked 21 runs in the penultimate over. Sans the services of their best batsman Robin Uthappa — out with a niggle, the hosts’ batting lacked zip losing three wickets for just 41 runs in the Powerplay.
Sunil Narine was the first to go, not connecting with the ball in the first five deliveries to finally give bowler Unadkat an easy catch in his follow through. Sheldon Jackon (10) followed suit soon after, getting hit wicket off the bowling of Sundar.
Skipper Gautam Gambhir (24) hit Stokes for two back-to-back fours and in the next over, tanked Sundar for a boundary and a six before holing out to Rahane at deep midwicket. Imran Tahir got rid of Yusuf Pathan (4) as the men in purple who have an enviable record at home looked hapless.
Pandey and Grandhomme — dropped once at long — off by Dan Christian when the New Zealander was on 10 — steadied the ship somewhat before Pandey got out. Christian made amends for his grassed catch, with a slower one which Pandey failed to pick, giving an easy catch to Rahane at deep midwicket.
Unadkat got the wicket of Grandhomme with Woakes (1) getting running out soon after. Coulter-Nile scored six before falling to Stokes as Umesh remained unbeaten with Suryakumar on 2.
Kolkata Knight Riders 155 for 8 in 20 overs (Manish Pandey 37, Colin de Grandhomme 36, Suryakumar Yadav 30*; Washington Sundar 2 for 18, Jaydev Unadkat 2 for 28) lost to Rising Pune Supergiant 158 for 6 in 19.2 overs (Rahul Tripathi 93, Ben Stokes 14; Chris Woakes 3 for 18, Umesh Yadav 1 for 23) by 4 wickets.
Man of the Match: Rahul Tripathi
(Inputs from IANS)