Steven Smith struggled to pronounce Tripathi, so the then Rising Pune Supergiant captain had nicknamed Rahul Tripathi as “Chowpatty” during Indian Premier League (IPL) 2017. Batting close to the Girgaum Chowpatty on Friday night, Tripathi continued his 'love-affair' with Kolkata Knight Riders with a match-winning 71.

Tripathi is no stranger to the Knight Riders. It was his exploits with the willow during the second half of IPL 2021 that had been instrumental in the Knight Riders staging a glorious turnaround and storming into the final.

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Besides his two-year stint with the Kolkata franchise, Tripathi’s personal best in IPL has also come against the Knight Riders. Five Mays ago, the Pune-based batter, in his debut season, had hammered 52-ball 93 at the Eden Gardens in an incredible chase. No other Supergiant batter could tally 15 runs while Tripathi single-handedly triggered the Knight Riders collapse.

On Friday night, at the Brabourne Stadium, Umesh Yadav and Sunil Narine were the only survivors from that Knight Riders attack. Despite changing into the Sunrisers’ Orange jersey this season, Tripathi meted out a similar treatment.

He swivelled Pat Cummins early on, then tonked Andre Russell over the ropes and showed respect, wherever necessary, to Narine. But it was his stunning assault against Varun Chakravarthy that would be remembered as much as Umran Malik’s fiery spell to Shreyas Iyer.

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No wonder then that Tripathi not only earned a friendly hug from Knight Riders head coach Brendon McCullum after the game but also high praise from the SRH head coach Tom Moody.

“He (Tripathi) was struck down in the last game with cramps but great to see him grab the game by the scruff of the neck and showed leadership in that top-order,” Moody said after the game.

Tripathi would be keen to continue to sizzle in and around Chowpatty for the next six weeks.