IPL: Kolkata register facile seven-wicket win against Pune
PUNE: Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) rode skipper Gautam Gambhir and in-form Robin Uthappa's crackling half centuries to sail to a facile seven-wicket win over Rising Pune Supergiant in an IPL game and go on top of points table here on Wednesday.
Uthappa (87; 47b 7x4 6x6) stole the show with some crisp power hitting as he brought up his third IPL 50 in this season of the Indian Premier League at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium.
Gambhir (62; 46b 6x4 1x6) at the end played second fiddle as the visitors made the most of some poor bowling by the hosts to finish on 184/3.
Uthappa was dropped on 12 when the team was 51/1 by Jaydev Unadkar off Imran Tahir's bowling.
Gambhir notched up his 34th half-century in his 100 game for the men in purple. For Pune who set a target of 183 after being asked to bat first, only Unadkat and Dan Christian got wickets.
Narine (16; 11b; 3x4 0x6) was run out after the spinner turned opener got off to a flying start.
Unadkat took the wicket of Uthappa while Christian sent Gambhir back in the hut but it was too little too late as the damage was already done. Darren Bravo (6 not out) milked a cover drive to hit the winning runs as Manish Pandey (0 not out) watched from the non-striker's end.
Earlier, captain Steve Smith led from the front with an unbeaten half-century to help Rising Pune Supergiant post 182/5.
Smith (51 not out from 37 balls) held the innings together as openers Ajinkya Rahane 46 (41b; 4x4, 1x6) and Rahul Tripathi 38 (23b; 7x4) played important knocks. Smith's half century was laced with four boundaries and a six.
Chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav (2/31) was the pick of the bowlers for KKR.
Pune openers recovered from a tentative start against KKR new ball bowlers with Tripathi playing the aggressor's role after being dropped on 35 by Yusuf Pathan off Colin de Grandhomme's delivery.
The in-form 26-year-old right-hander took a liking to pacer Umesh Yadav, hitting three fours, two in one over, to race to 38 off just 22 balls before leg-spinner Piyush Chawla outfoxed him with a googly that the batsman chopped onto his stumps trying to cut.
At the other end, Rahane looked steady for his knock but fell short when Sunil Narine went wide outside off stump to force him to come down the ground and get stumped by wicketkeeper Robin Uthappa.
Rahane was part of two vital partnerships, with Tripathi for a 65-run stand for the first wicket and with Skipper Smith for a 47-run second-wicket stand.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni played a quickfire 23 (11b 1x4 2x6) before Kuldeep got the back of the former India captain with a googly as Uthappa stumped him.
Dan Christian 16 (6b 0x4 2x6) hit big too before getting out off the last delivery as KKR leaked 30 runs in the last two overs. Christian tonked two sixes to take his side to a par score on this wicket.