Uthappa hits 87 as Knight Riders beat Supergiant in IPL
PUNE: Robin Uthappa struck an inspired 87 and captain Gautam Gambhir added 62 as two-time champions Kolkata Knight Riders swept to a seven-wicket victory over Rising Pune Supergiant in the Indian Premier League on Wednesday.
An unbeaten 51 by Steven Smith helped Supergiant reach a solid total of 182-5, only for Uthappa and Gambhir to guide Knight Riders to 184-3 and a win that took them to the top of the standings.
Uthappa hammered seven boundaries and six sixes in his 47-ball knock, which followed an impressive display behind the stumps by the wicketkeeper-batsman.
Smith's unbeaten 51, which included four boundaries and a six from 37 balls, was his team's standout performance after opener Ajinkya Rahane had made a bright start with 46 from 41 deliveries before being stumped by Uthappa.
Fellow opener Rahul Tripathi chipped in with a useful innings of 38, which included three fours off Sunil Narine in the sixth over. His knock ended with a googly from Piyush Chawla that he clipped onto his stumps.
Supergiant tried to step up the run rate in the closing stages, only to lose two wickets in the 18th over - with Mahendra Singh Dhoni (23) and Manoj Tiwary (1) both stumped by Uthappa off Kuldeep Yadav deliveries.
Daniel Christian smacked two consecutive sixes off Chris Woakes at the end of an 19th over that yielded 18 runs, with 12 more being plundered off the final over. The last ball of the innings saw Smith's attempted big hit providing a simple catch at deep mid-wicket for Manish Pandey off a full toss from Umesh Yadav.
In reply, Knight Riders lost Narine (16) to a runout that left his team on 20-1, but any nerves were very soon steadied.
Uthappa slashed a four and two sixes from Washington Sundar's first three balls of the eighth over, along with two consecutive sixes off Imran Tahir in the 16th.
He was dismissed in the following over, just five runs short of the victory target.
Looking for a six to finish the game in style, his effort came up short and provided an easy catch for Tripathi off a Jaydev Unadkat delivery. Gambhir was out the next over, an easy catch for Shardul Thakur after an awkward shot off the bowling of Christian.
Darren Bravo and Pandey finished off the Knight Riders innings, with the West Indies batsman drilling a four through the covers to wrap up the win.