Full Marks for Tripathi

Rahul’s blistering 71 followed by Aiden’s half-century help SRH beat KKR by 7 wickets

Published: 16th April 2022 08:06 AM  |   Last Updated: 16th April 2022 08:06 AM   |  A+A-

Sunrisers Hyderabad’s Aiden Markran and Rahul Tripathi added 94 runs together for the third wicket against Kolkata Knight Riders in Mumbai on Friday | Sportzpics

Express News Service

BENGALURU:  Eyebrows were raised when Kolkata Knight Riders failed to retain Shubman Gill ahead of the IPL auction last year. It has to be said the management have missed his run-scoring ability this season. The man from Punjab, in the company of Venkatesh Iyer, helped the team dance their way to the final with their brilliant show at the top in the second leg of last season.

With no Gill, they decided to go ahead with Ajinkya Rahane at the top this year. The former’s performance has been poor despite a long run. He scored below 12 in his last four matches, which did not augur well. With the first wicket partnership reading 43/1, 14/1, 14/1, 16/1 and 20/1, the new opening duo was a failure. Hence, it came as no surprise when Aaron Finch, who was brought in as Alex Hales replacement even before the season started, was given a game as they prepared to face Sunrisers Hyderabad at the Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai on Friday.

But the new man Finch failed to impress, getting out for two. Even the top-order were outdone by the SRH bowlers. They were 70/4 at one point, but Kolkata managed to reach 175/8 with Andre Russell (49 n.o) and Nitish Rana (54) playing a big role in the second half of their innings.  On a pitch, which had a bit of spice, one expected run-scoring to be a tad difficult for Hyderabad. But Rahul Tripathi came up with a positive mindset as the right-hander scored a match-winning 37-ball 71 and was ably supported by AIden Markram, who was unbeaten on 68. Hyderabad  reached the target in the 18th over to script their third straight win of the season. 

Tripathi, who walked in at number three, started off quite well, but it was only from sixth over onwards that he changed gears. It was a calculated move after having seen enough of the pitch. He thrashed mystery spinner Varun Chakravarthy for a four and two sixes in his first over. In the second, he was taken for one more six and a four, which even prompted KKR skipper Shreyas Iyer to bring on Pat Cummins into the attack. The required run rate spiked to more than nine runs per over, but with a settled Markram and Tripathi at the crease, the ball was always in Hyderabad’s court. Even if the latter perished, they were in the driver’s seat  as the South African looked in his element to steer his team home with back-to-back sixes. 

Though the batters played an important role in the win, one also needs to applaud the SRH bowlers, who made use of some good bowling conditions.

Brief scores: KKR 175/8 in 20 ovs (Rana 54, Russell 49 n.o; Natarajan 3/37) lost to SRH 176/3 in 17.5 ovs (Tripathi 71, Markram 68 n.o).


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