Kolkata Knight Riders exposed Rising Pune Supergiant in the latest fixture, to prove that the team will not back out easily from claiming the top spot on the IPL point chart. It was the strike from skipper Gautam Gambhir and Robin Uthappa that emerged as an adequate reply for Smith. Pune challenged Kolkata knocking 182. The score was bolstered with the half century from Steven Smith and the 46 from Ajinkya Rahane.
In the chase, Kolkata batsmen Uthappa and Gambhir posed the second highest partnership of their team in IPL. The players brought 158 runs together that made them win with 11 balls to spare, ravaging the attacks from the likes of Imran Tahir. The stretch expanded to more than 14 overs until the players hauled the chase near to the winning mark. When Gambhir was removed in 17.4 overs with the chase needing 3 runs to topple Pune.
Pune played without Ben Stokes and the strategy seemed to backfire well. It was the bowlers who could not restrict the Kolkata to transform the chase into a cakewalk. Pune, in fact, wanted to focus on batting that was evident the moment they picked up Faf du Plessis dropping Ben Stokes. They still had the option of fast bowler Lockie Ferguson and Adam Zampa, but it is only the mistakes that take the dig on the losing side. A misfield, the catch drop of Gambhir on 32 was an obvious bummer for Pune. At the end, all Kolkata needed was the boundary from Darren Bravo, on his debut match.
Pune batsmen played strong. The powerplay stretch was morbid with the openers striking with a healthy strike rate. Rahul Tripathi, who scored 38 off 23 balls escaped a catch, which could have remove him on duck. The batsman hammered the deliveries from Sunil Narine and Umesh Yadav after Kolkata salvaged him. Dhoni punched back to back boundaries for his 11 ball 23. Smith, phenomenal as usual, knocked the highest score of 51 in the inning. However, they were just not enough to contain Gambhir’s squad.
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