Robin Uthappa and Gautam Gambhir scored 87 and 62 respectively to take the Kolkata Knight Riders to the top of the log with a seven-wicket victory in Pune on Wednesday.
This was KKR’s third consecutive victory against RPS and their fifth win in five at the MCA stadium.
Gambhir trusted his side’s chasing ability by sending the home side in to bat, and it seemed a debatable call after a good innings by the hosts on a slow wicket.
A solid opening partnership from Ajinkya Rahane and Rahul Tripathi saw the RPS put on 65 before the fall of the first wicket. Tripathi was the first to go after a 23-ball 38, which brought their captain Steve Smith to the crease.
The new pair showed similar batting prowess as in their chase against Mumbai Indians in their opening match, but they couldn’t repeat their match-winning fifty partnership, as Rahane was stumped four runs from a fifty partnership and four runs short of what would ‘ve been his second fifty of IPL 10.
Smith and MS Dhoni batted aggressively as they took RPS from 112-2 to 148-3, but a double stumping in the 18th over saw Dhoni fall on an 11-ball 23 and Manoj Tiwary on 1 three balls later.
Smith (51 off 37 balls), however, smashed one six and four fours to take his side to 182-5 and reached his second half-century of the season in the process.
For KKR, a wicket in the third over put them on the back foot immediately, after Sunil Narine’s eagerness to add runs on the board saw him run out on 16 off 11 balls.
Gambhir and Uthappa steadied the ship as Uthappa earned a second life after being dropped by Jaydev Unadkat on 12 off 12 balls in the seventh over.
The dropped catch proved costly, as he smashed two sixes in the following over, to bring up a 50-run partnership for the second wicket, followed by him reaching his fifty in only 26 balls. Gambhir followed suit to reach his half century in 35 balls, after being put down in the 11th over on 32.
The Man of the Match, Uthappa, played a tantalising knock smashing 87 off 47 balls (seven fours, six sixes), but he finally caved in to lose his wicket with just five runs needed for victory.
Gambhir lost his wicket shortly after on 62 off 46 (six fours, one six) earning him the orange cap, but it was a little too late for RPS as they slumped to a seven-wicket defeat with 11 balls remaining.
Faf du Plessis was undervalued as he did not get a bat, while Imran Tahir was slaughtered, ending on figures of 0-48.