Kolkata: Gautam Gambhir’s Kolkata Knight Riders continued their dominating run in this tournament after they thrashed the Rising Pune Supergiant by seven wickets with 11 balls to spare at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Pune.
Gambhir(62 ) and Robin Uthappa (87) put on a solid 158 run second wicket partnership to seal the game for the Kolkata Knight Riders who were without their star pacer Nathan Coulter-Nile. Earlier batting first, Pune rode on the back of a brilliant opening stand of 65 by Ajinkya Rahane (46) and Rahul Tripathi (38) and some late hitting by Mahendra Singh Dhoni (23) skipper Steve Smith(51) and Daniel Christian(16) saw them end on a high at 182/5. Young Kuldeep Yadav was the best bowler for Kolkata as he scalped the two crucial wickets of Dhoni and Tiwary in the 18th over and ended up conceding 31 runs from his four overs.
In response, Sunil Narine hit a quickfire 16 before he was run out by the combination of Shardul Thakur and MS Dhoni. From then on, it was a pure Gambhir-Uthappa show as they scored freely and took Kolkata really close to the total before IPL debutant Darren Bravo finished things off with a whacking cover drive.
It would however be wrong to say that Pune didn’t have their chances as Jaydev Unadkat, who took a ripper of a catch in his last match against Mumbai Indians to dismiss skipper Rohit Sharma missed a high and straightforward catch of Robin Uthappa, whose knock eventually turned out to be one of the match-defining innings.
Unadkat however found redemption as he dismissed Uthappa with a short ball which the latter miscued, but the game was all over by then. Imran Tahir proved to be the costliest bowler for the home side as he leaked 48 runs in his four overs.
Smith’s men surely missed the services of all-rounder Ben Stokes who was left out to accommodate South African Faf du Plessis.
With this resounding win, Kolkata move to the top spot with 12 points from eight games, displacing Mumbai Indians, courtesy a superior net run rate. Rising Pune Supergiant are however on the fourth spot in the league table.
Rising Pune Supergiant 182/5 (Steve Smith 51, Ajinkya Rahane 46; Kuldeep Yadav 2/31) lost to Kolkata Knight Riders 184/3 in 18.1 overs (Robin Uthappa 87, Gautam Gambhir 62; Jaydev Unadkat 1/26) by 7 wickets.