Sports is all about grabbing chances and making it count when it matters the most.
Promoted in the batting order, Rahul Tripathi utilised his chance with both the hands by slamming a career-best 81 to steer Kolkata Knight Riders to a competitive total of 167 against Chennai Super Kings in the Dream11 Indian Premier League at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.
The 29-year-old Tripathi smashed 81 off just 51 balls to help Kolkata Knight Riders put up a fighting total as unsettled Kolkata Knight Riders looked to bounce back against revived Chennai Super Kings.
Opening the innings, Tripathi cracked eight fours and three sixes to justify his promotion. Tripathi provided a decent start and added 37 runs for the first wicket with in-form Shubman Gill (11: 12 balls, 1×4) after their captain Dinesh Karthik opted to bat.
Ranchi-born Tripathi, who plays domestic cricket for Maharashtra, was also involved in a fruitful alliance with Sunil Narine (17: 9 balls, 1×4, 1×6), who batted at No. 4 position instead of opening the innings as pinch-hitter.
Tripathi, who earlier represented Rising Pune Supergiants and Rajasthan Royals, displayed some brilliant shots particularly on the on-side to complete his maiden half-century in this IPL season.
However, besides Tripathi and to certain extent Narine and Pat Cummins, rest of the KKR batsmen struggled against a disciplined bowling effort from Chennai Super Kings bowlers.
At one stage when Tripathi was going great guns, the two-time champions KKR looked like reaching a total of 180 plus but they faltered in the death overs.
West Indies’ star all-rounder Andre Russell, who has been a top-performer this season for KKR, failed to deliver on Wednesday.
In the last five overs, KKR managed to score only 39 runs and lost 6 wickets. Pat Cummins played a couple of big shots and remained unbeaten on 17 which came off just nine balls.
The Chennai-based franchise enjoys an upper hand when it comes to head-to-head, having won 14 out of 22 encounters so far.
Dwayne Bravo was the pick of the CSK bowlers with 3-37. Leg-spinner Karn Sharma, who replaced veteran Piyush Chawla in this game, returned with 2 for 25. Medium-pacers, Sam Curran and Shardul Thakur also scalped a couple of wickets each.
Kolkata Knight Riders 167 all out in 20 overs (Rahul Tripathi 81, Pat Cummins 17 not out, Sunil Narine 17, Dinesh Karthik 12, Shubman Gill 11; Dwayne Bravo 3-37, Karn Sharma 2-25, Sam Curran 2-26, Shardul Thakur 2-28) vs Chennai Super Kings.