Dazzling innings of 93 from Rahul Tripathi combined with efforts from bowlers, especially at the start, saw the visiting team Rising Pune Supergiant sailing past the home side Kolkata Knight Riders to add two more points in their account and move a step closer to qualifying for the next round.
The chase of a modest 156-run target started with Ajinkya Rahane opening the innings with Rahul Tripathi.
Rahane was struggling right from the first delivery and after hitting two boundaries combined with a single and a double, he went back to the pavilion with a score of 11. Rahul Tripathi then came to the fore as he was managing few boundaries right from the start and was playing aggressively.
The Maharashtra batsman really put his team in the race after an early stutter as the team crossed 50 run mark before 5 overs but lost an important wicket of Steven Smith on 59 on the last delivery of the fifth over. Manoj Tiwary too followed Smith soon but Tripathi just kept scoring freely.
Stokes joined the forces with Tripathi in the middle but after sharing 43 runs with him, he too walked back. Dhoni was also back in the dug-out in no time but Tripathi had ensured a safe and clean stage for his side.
Never during his innings, Tripathi dropped his strike rate as he was hitting boundaries at regular interval but his wicket in the penultimate over created a bit off pressure in the chasing side which Daniel Christian shrugged off by hitting a six to win the game, for the second consecutive time.
With this win, Pune climbed to the third position with KKR still holding on the second rank.
It was the poor start from the team that went against KKR as for one more time, the experiment to open with Sunil Narine failed as the opener was put under pressure by Jaydev Unadkat, who varied the pace on the first five balls before finally taking a return catch to deliver a wicket-maiden over. Sheldon Jackson looked like settled on the pitch but after putting up 19 runs along with Gautam Gambhir, he himself dislodged the bails with his foot, thus becoming the first batsman in this year’s IPL to be dismissed ‘Hit-Wicket’.
Small partnerships continued to brew for the team but it came at cost of wickets as KKR was four down on a score off 55 on the same number of deliveries.
It looked like the team might not be able to touch the 100 run mark but the pair of Manish Pandey and Colin de Grandhomme shared 78 runs in next five overs to see the team get a good score.
In the end, it was SuryaKumar Yadav, the replacement of Robin Uthappa, who gave a perfect finishing touch to the innings as he smacked 30 runs in just 16 deliveries to raise the run rate of the team and help them to end the innings on a defendable score of 155.
Though the home side could not defend the total and it was Rising Pune Supergiant that emerged as the winner, by virtue of scaling the target, riding on combined efforts.