Rahul Tripathi led with the bat as Kolkata Knight Riders thrash Mumbai Indians by seven wickets at the Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium in the Indian Premier League on Thursday.
Tripathi said the key to the turnaround in KKR’s fortunes has been a ‘positive environment in the second half of the season so far.
With this win, Kolkata have now registered two out of two wins in their UAE leg of the tournament and are now at fourth place in the points table with eight points from nine matches.
“The team environment is very positive. We wanted to hit the ground running in the second phase,” Tripathi said at the post-match presentation ceremony.
Kolkata were off to a flier with Venkatesh Iyer smacking Trent Boult for a six over deep square leg. He then smacked Adam Milne for a six followed by two fours in the second over. With seven boundaries hit in less than three overs, Kolkata were on a rampage, making chances of comeback difficult for Mumbai.
It needed an off-cutter from Jasprit Bumrah which got Gill (13) to chop onto his stumps, ending the opening partnership at 40. Gill’s dismissal caused Iyer and Rahul Tripathi to tread cautiously. But after the completion of power-play at 63/1, Iyer danced down the pitch to hit Krunal Pandya for a clean six over deep mid-wicket. Rahul Chahar was taken for eleven in his opening over as Iyer and Tripathi took a boundary each off him.
Tripathi smacked a six over long-on before sweeping between long-on and deep mid-wicket for a boundary off Krunal. Tripathi, put down on 43 by Chahar, reached his half-century with a leading edge on scoop going over third man for six. He followed it up with a boundary slogged through mid-wicket off Bumrah.
Iyer, after reaching his fifty in 25 balls, saw his blitzkrieg end at 55 with his stumps disturbed by a slower delivery from Bumrah. Tripathi was undeterred by Iyer’s dismissal and continued to whack Chahar, slog-sweeping over deep mid-wicket followed by an edge which Kishan tried to stop but touched the rope with his leg.
Though Eoin Morgan (7) fell cheaply to become Bumrah’s third scalp of the match, Tripathi and Nitish Rana knocked off the remaining runs, with the latter reverse scoring the winning boundary by sweeping Chahar to seal a famous win.
Tripathi also revealed how coach Brendon McCullum’s words have changed the game for him and the team. “I really enjoyed the batting today and happy that I stayed till the end and got the team home. Obviously the coach tells us to be positive. When you are positive the pressure goes to the bowlers and you just look for runs. It was important to put their spinners under pressure. I felt it was important to get boundaries, he said.
(With inputs from Agencies)