IPL 2017: Rahul Tripathi special helps RPS hand KKR 2nd loss in a row

Time will tell whether Rahul Tripathi goes the way of those who flickered but couldn’t glow in the Indian Premier League (IPL) but his turbo-charged 93 helped Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS) beat Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) for the first time in their short history on Wednesday.

Their four-wicket win at Eden Gardens means the Kolkata team and the one owned by a Kolkatan are level on 14 points after 11 games.

KKR have been kayoed by openers in successive games, the difference being on Wednesday the RPS bowling, led by Jaydev Unadkat who began with a wicket-maiden, had set the stage for Maharashtra’s Tripathi.

Kolkata Knight Riders scored 155 for eight and Rising Pune Supergiant reached 158 for six in 19.2 overs at the Eden Gardens.

Even before RPS’ power play ended, the Eden had started emptying. On a wicket where Unadkat’s slow medium-pace made scoring difficult, Tripathi found the ball coming nicely on from KKR’s fast bowling trio of Nathan Coulter-Nile, Umesh Yadav and Chris Woakes. The way he used his feet would have been a lesson to Sunil Narine’s leaden-footed approach at the top of the order.

Tripathi reached his half-century with a cheeky sweep for four, off Narine, having begun the over with a late cut that fetched the same result. The spinners had been kept away till the eighth over but by hitting chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav for three successive sixes, Tripathi showed he was ready for whatever KKR would throw at him.

The odd ball was stopping but batting with the kind of abandon that is the right of a man in form, Tripathi took to Coulter-Nile, KKR’s best bowler.

A hook off Umesh Yadav — he had Ajinkya Rahane caught behind with a superb delivery after the batsman was unable to move away from the one that was climbing — for six was followed by a four over point. Chris Woakes was on-driven for four and next over, Coulter-Nile’s nightmare got longer with Tripathi hitting a six over midwicket. Two more boundaries, one through cover and another at long-on made Narine’s mayhem in earlier matches seem sedentary. In all, Tripathi hit nine fours and seven sixes.

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RisingPuneSupergiant ✔ @RPSupergiants
6⃣ sixes twice in his domestic career, no surprises what we saw from Tripathi tonight!
We win by 4⃣ wickets!#RangWahiJungNayi #KKRvRPS #IPL
11:56 PM – 3 May 2017
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Till Surya Kumar Yadav made him look mortal, hitting on both sides of the wicket before lofting him for a six to which Coulter-Nile too added a six, Unadkat bowled a dream spell. That he ended with 2/28 despite going for 21 in his last over tells its own story.

It helped KKR reach 155/8, with Surya Kumar Yadav making an unbeaten 30, Manish Pandey scoring 37 and his 48-run partnership with Colin de Grandhomme being the only highlights of a poor batting show. Boy, didn’t KKR miss Robin Uthappa, who was rested because of a niggle.

That the first time bat met ball resulted in a wicket could have been an indication of how the evening would pan out for KKR. Caught and bowled by Unadkat, Narine now has scores of 16, 4, 1, 0 in his last four innings. KKR never recovered but after an early wobble in this tournament, the Supergiant seems to be in cruise-control mode.