Rahul Tripathi’s six off Ravichandran Ashwin’s penultimate ball ensured that Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) were in the final of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021. The 30-year-old batter believed in himself and knew he was only one hit away from glory.
KKR had to chase 136 against the Delhi Capitals (DC) in the IPL Qualifier 2 in Sharjah. They had an opening stand of 96 runs but lost six wickets for seven runs in 22 balls to help their opponents return in the game. Before the penultimate ball, Rahul Tripathi was six off 10 balls. Meanwhile Ashwin had given away only a run off his four balls in that over and picked up two wickets.
Reflecting on the win and the plans heading into the final hit, an elated Rahul Tripathi said:
“The win for the team was very important. There were one or two tough overs, but I never thought it would go so deep in the end. I am glad we won the game.
“The 18th over was a great one from Rabada. I knew that we had to connect with just one off the spinner, and I am glad it came off.
“That was the plan (farming the strike for the final two deliveries?), but if we could find a small gap for a possible two, we were going to run. I was going to come back for the second, but we were running only if there was two. It was difficult upon going in straightaway - the ball was keeping low and was difficult to put away. I kept believing in myself that we are just one hit away.”
Rahul Tripathi has been KKR’s best batter in the IPL 2021 with 395 runs at an average of 30.4, striking at 141.1.
Rahul Tripathi summarized KKR’s incredible journey in the IPL 2021. He stated that captain Eoin Morgan and coach Brendon McCullum gave the team a positive approach. That helped the side come back stronger in the second phase in the UAE.
“It’s been a great journey for us after the first phase when we were a little down. We were told that we have to hit the ground running in the second phase. We believed in ourselves, and the approach given by Eoin and the coach helped us with the positive approach,” added Rahul Tripathi, who finished with 12 not out off 11 balls.
KKR were reeling in seventh spot at the halfway stage with just two wins from seven matches. In the UAE leg, they won five out of their seven games to enter the playoffs.
With consecutive wins in the playoffs, they have now made it to their third IPL final. There they will meet three-time champions Chennai Super Kings (CSK), a side that has beaten them twice in this edition. A win in the final will give KKR its third title. The final will be played in Dubai on Friday.