Rahul Tripathi struck a match-winning 93 off 52 balls as the Rising Pune Supergiant downed the Kolkata Knight Riders by four wickets.
The Rising Pune Supergiant won the toss and inserted the hosts. This was a clear effort to deny the Knight Riders the opportunity to chase at home, which they have done successfully for the past 12 times.
Add to this the fact that the Knight Riders have been victorious in the three previous meetings between the two sides, and one can understand why the hosts were tipped as firm favourites to win the game.
As the old cliche goes, however, ‘anything can happen on the day’. There is no saying more fitting to describe the clash at Eden Gardens.
The Knight Riders sorely missed the presence of Robin Uthappa at the top of the innings, who was unavailable through injury. KKR made a stuttering start as they lost three wickets inside the powerplay overs for the addition of only 41 runs.
Manish Pandey and Colin de Grandhomme then set about rebuilding the innings as they added 48 runs for the fifth wicket, before Pandey fell for a well-played 37 off 32 balls (four fours, one six).
De Grandhomme was joined at the wicket by Suryakumar Yadav and the pair added a further 16 runs before De Grandhomme too, departed for a bright and breezy 36 off just 19 balls (three fours, two sixes). Once again the Knight Riders’ progress was hindered by the loss of untimely wickets.
Yadav continued on though, and ensured that his side posted a competitive score of 155-8, helped in large part by a 21-run penultimate over. Jaydev Unadkat was the pick of the bowlers as he finished with 2-28 in four overs, while South Africa’s Imran Tahir returned figures of 1-36 in four overs.
The visitors, seeking to draw level with KKR in second place on the log, made a sensational start to their innings as they sped to 30-1 in three overs, courtesy of Tripathi. He played the leading role in helping his side reach the fastest team fifty ever in IPL history off only 26 balls.
Tripathi made a bit of history of his own shortly thereafter as he powered his way to the fastest fifty ever by a RPS player off just 23 balls.
Tripathi held an innings together that threatened to fall apart for his team. Tripathi watched on as five of his batting partners headed back to the dressing room during the chase. He took his team to the brink of victory, but fell with only five runs required for victory for 93 (nine fours, seven sixes).
Daniel Christian hit a six off the bowling of De Grandhomme to complete the Supergiant’s first-ever victory over the Kolkata Knight Riders, and their sixth victory in their last seven matches.