Kolkata Knight Riders claimed five-wicket victory over Punjab Kings in Ahmedabad after losing four games in a row in the Indian Premier League 2021.
KKR captain Eoin Morgan announced his return to form with a patient 47 that helped Kolkata claim the 124-run target with 20 balls in hand.
Rahul Tripathi’s 66-run partnership with Morgan was a crucial moment of the game as the KKR top-order crumbled once again.
Apart from taking a tumbling catch to dismiss Mayank Agarwal, the 30-year-old Tripathi did his best with the bat as well.
At 17/3, the KKR could have collapsed like they did in previous outings if not for Tripathi’s 41 that got the pressure off Kolkata.
Eventually, he threw his wicket to Deepak Hooda later with the score at 83, but had done his job by then.
Big hitters let Punjab down
Punjab’s plan with the bat is clear as crystal.
KL Rahul and Agarwal score runs patiently to give a solid start to inning for the likes of Chris Gayle and Nicholas Pooran to capitalize with their power-hitting.
However, this factor has been missing this season.
With Gayle and Pooran failing to deliver the goods against KKR, the Kings lacked enough runs on the board to stop even a low-on-confidence team like KKR.
They ended up with a meagre total that allowed the Riders to lift themselves off the bottom of the table.
This might force the PBKS management to replace either Gayle or Pooran with Dawid Malan in the later stages of the tournament.
Tripathi steps up
Rahul Tripathi thrives under pressure.
He loves to score fours with lofted drives over the circle and that makes him an ideal opening candidate.
Tripathi can go ballistic in the power play if he replaces either Shubman Gill or Nitish Rana as an opener.
The Rana-Gill duo has been inconsistent and let the Riders down whenever they needed them to provide a solid opening stand.
Kolkata Knight Riders 126 for 5 (Morgan 47*, Tripathi 41, Henriques 1-5) beat Punjab Kings 123 for 9 (Agarwal 31, Jordan 30, Krishna 3-30, Narine 2-22) by five wickets.
Preview: Delhi Capitals vs. Royal Challengers Bangalore
Royal Challengers Bangalore will be eager to thump Delhi Capitals on Tuesday night to wipe off their loss in the last game against Chennai Super Kings.
Virat Kohli and Rishabh Pant’s men will play at the Narendra Modi Stadium for the first time this season.
Probable Playing XI
Royal Challengers Bangalore
Devdutt Padikkal, Virat Kohli (C), Washington Sundar, AB de Villiers (WK), Glenn Maxwell, Daniel Christian, Kyle Jamieson, Harshal Patel, Yuzvendra Chahal, Mohammad Siraj, Navdeep Saini.
Shikhar Dhawan, Prithvi Shaw, Steve Smith, Rishabh Pant (C & WK), Marcus Stoinis, Shimron Hetmyer, Axar Patel, Amit Mishra, Lalit Yadav, Kagiso Rabada, Avesh Khan.
Both franchises have been clinical in all departments so far.
They’ve lost only one game this season and a minute difference of net run rate separates them from the first spot in the points table.
Bangalore have won 15 out of 26 games against DC.
Moreover, skipper Virat Kohli has an unbelievable record against the Delhi-based franchise.
He has scored 897 runs, including eight fifties and averages nearly 60 against Pant’s men.
However, DC has a more potent bowling attack. Axar Patel is back in the squad and is capable of taking quick wickets with his top spinners on a pitch, he knows inside out.
His return will compensate for the departure of Ravichandran Ashwin who has decided to take a break from the VIVO IPL 2021 due to Covid.
Considering all factors, our money is still on Bangalore.
With the kind of form Kohli and Devdutt Padikkal are in, RCB are likely to clinch the contest on Tuesday.