Thanks to Shardul Thakur's direct hit from short fine-leg, Sunil Narine was found short of his ground. It meant Kolkata Knight Riders couldn't start with a bang.
The target of 183, set by Steven Smith's Rising Pune Supergiant, increasingly became imposing for the visiting team.
While skipper Gautam Gambhir was in decent touch, Robin Uthappa was as tentative as – if not more than – Ajinkya Rahane earlier in the evening. With leggie Imran Tahir having been introduced immediately after the Powerplay, Uthappa decided to go after the man who was the primary wicket-taker for the Pune outfit. Ben Stokes was sidelined for the game.
A slog-sweep took the top-edge of Uthappa's willow and the skier should have been a regulation catch for Jaydev Unadkat at long-leg. However, the fielder stuttered on the boundary and made a real mess of it, helping the ball to a one-bounced boundary after the ball popped out of his palms.
Uthappa and Gambhir then made the Supergiant pay for the miss dearly as their 158-run partnership set up the Knight Riders' seven-wicket win. With its sixth win in eight games, the Knight Riders displaced Mumbai Indians at the top of the table.
Before attempting that swat, Uthappa was batting on 12 off 12 balls. Twenty-one balls later, having faced 14 of them, the Bangalorean had raised the bat for his half-century. Uthappa – who had achieved a rare feat of effecting three stumpings in an IPL innings earlier in the day – is a treat to watch when he backs himself to play in the V.
He was at his marauding best, with Tahir facing the brunt along with offie Washington Sundar and Unadkat.
Even after raising his third fifty of the season, Uthappa continued to dominate a hapless Pune attack. Such was his aura that the batsman not only recorded his personal best in IPL but also overshadowed the outstanding effort with the bat by both the captains. Involved in a 150-plus partnership for the second time in the seaosn, Gambhir played the second fiddle to perfection, without missing an opportunity to send anything slightly short through square point region.
Smith, on the other hand, anchored the Supergiant innings after being inserted by Gambhir. Rahul Tripathi continued to give a quickfire start to the host's innings. Once he perished, trying to cut Piyush Chawla in his first over, Smith ensured that Rahane's inability to keep the scoreboard moving didn't really peg the innings back.
Even after Kuldeep Yadav's twin googlies in an over to get rid of danger man Mahendra Singh Dhoni and in-form Manoj Tiwary, Smith in the company of fellow Australia Dan Christian ensured that the innings ended on a high. The captain also crossed his second fifty of the season in the last over. In the end, it wasn't enough for the home team.
- Ronaldo’s return boosts Al-Nassr’s maiden Asian Champions League title hopes
- Ranji Trophy Live Score, Day 2 Semifinal 2024: Sai Kishore removes Avasthi in first over; Mantri, Gawali continue for MP
- USWNT players shut out talk of team’s demise
- LeBron James reaches 40,000 points to extend his record as the NBA’s scoring leader
- F1 2024: Mercedes’ hopes hit by cooling error in Bahrain