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Gautam Gambhir and Steven Smith during the toss of Match 30 of IPL 2017 © BCCI
Robin Uthappa’s highest score in IPL 2017 helped Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) ease through Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS) by 7 wickets in Match 30 at Pune. With this win, KKR have inched closer to playoffs as they are at the top of table with 12 points while RPS remain at No. 4 spot. Chasing target of 183, skipper Gautam Gambhir also notched 46-ball 82 to provide support to the wicketkeeper-batsman. While Uthappa decorated his knock with seven boundaries and six hits over the fence, Gambhir innings was laced with six fours and one six. The duo stitched 158 runs off just 85 balls for the second wicket to help KKR chase down the 183-run target with 11 balls to spare. Full Cricket Scorecard, Rising Pune Supergiant vs Kolkata Knight Riders, IPL 2017, Match 30
Earlier, Steven Smith led from the front with an unbeaten 51 to lift Pune to a challenging 182 for five. Smith’s half-century came off 37 balls with the help of four boundaries and a six. Besides Smith, Ajinkya Rahane (46 off 41 balls), Rahul Tripathi (38 off 23), MS Dhoni (23 off 11) and Daniel Christian (16 off 6) also made useful contributions for the home team. Left-arm chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav was the pick of the bowlers for KKR with figures of two for 31. Chasing the target, Sunil Narine (15 off 9 balls) once again got KKR off to a brisk start before he was run out in the third over.
Then Uthappa and Gambhir joined hands and took control off the chase with a bit of luck on their favour. Uthappa was lucky to have survived a close LBW call when he was yet to open his account and later when Jaydev Unadkat made a mess of a chance at deep midwicket off Imran Tahir’s bowling with the batsman on 12. The stylish right-hander grabbed the opportunities with both hands and thereafter opened his arms to struck boundaries and sixes at will.
Uthpappa did not spare a single Pune bowler with young Washington Sundar and Unadkat facing the maximum wrath. Uthappa brought up his half-century in just 26 balls in the 11th over. Gambhir, on the other hand, was content to play one and twos with occasional boundaries in between. Gambhir too got a life at the personal score of 32, dropped by Sundar off Daniel Christian’s bowling.
The duo, however, could not finish off the chase as both departed while trying to get over the line as quickly as possible but not before doing the job for their side.
(Inputs from PTI)