Uthappa, Gambhir shine in win over RPS
We won the toss and decided to bowl first against Rising Pune Supergiant in Pune. Darren Bravo made his IPL debut for us as he replaced Nathan Coulter-Nile. Piyush Chawla too made the cut as Suryakumar Yadav gave way to him.
Assertive start from the RPS batsmen:
After losing the toss, Ajinkya Rahane and Rahul Tripathi made sure they gave their side a stable start. Tripathi was playing his natural game while Rahane was giving him able support from the other end. After getting their eyes in, the two batsmen started playing the big shots. At the end of 5 overs, they were 42/0 with Tripathi scoring majority of the runs. But it was the introduction of Piyush Chawla in the 8th over, which provided us the breakthrough as Tripathi chopped one on to his stumps. Steven Smith too, took his time and kept the scoreboard moving with Rahane at the other end. After 10 overs, their scoreboard read 83/1.
Supergiant set a challenging total:
The duo ran beautifully between the wickets and converted the ones into twos and pushed our outfielders in the big ground. Rahane was looking comfortable at the crease and heading towards his fifty but Narine got the better of him as he was stumped by Uthappa. MS Dhoni arrived with a huge cheer in the ground and wasted no time to attack Chawla. He struck a four and a six on consecutive balls and looked good in his short span. He was dismissed by Kuldeep Yadav as he failed to pick the googly and was stumped. Kuldeep struck again and this time it was Manoj Tiwary’s turn to make his way back to the pavilion. Smith remained unbeaten as Christian holed out on the last ball of the innings. Umesh Yadav got his 100th T20 wicket and RPS posted 182/5 in their 20 overs.
Narine departs but 'Gauthappa' show their class:
Narine got us off to a quick start, again. But for once, he failed to get going. It was a run-out which cost him his wicket after some brilliant work from Shardul Thakur and MS Dhoni. But then Gautam Gambhir, who was playing his 100th KKR match in IPL and captaining the side for the 100th time, along with Robin Uthappa, steadied our ship. It was a difficult wicket to start, hence both batsmen took their time and scored at a run-rate of 6-7 till 5 overs. RPS captain Steven Smith was constantly changing his bowlers in order to get a breakthrough but the plan didn’t work. Robin Uthappa attacked from the onset and was timing the ball beautifully. Uthappa took to Washington in the 8th over as he smashed him for a four, six and six on consecutive deliveries. Tahir had an off-day today as he went for 22 in his first 2 overs. The scoreboard read 101/1 after 10 overs and we needed 82 in the last 60 balls.
Uthappa and Gambhir lead us to victory:
Soon after, Uthappa reached to his fifty in just 26 balls and carried on with the same momentum for the rest of the innings. Gambhir was doing the sensible thing, giving the strike to the in-form batsman and scoring whenever loose balls were offered to him. The Pune bowlers tried everything to break the partnership, but the two Knights had their eyes set by now. Uthappa made another statement as he hit Imran Tahir for two sixes in two consecutive balls. He tried to finish things off in a flurry but holed out in the deep when he was on 87. In the next over, Gambhir departed too, but by then, we were near to victory. Debutant Darren Bravo finished the match with a classic cover drive as we registered a 7-wicket win and made our way back to the top of the table. Robin Uthappa won the Man of the Match award for his sublime knock of 87 and 3 stumpings.