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Tripathi slays KKR to keep Pune on course for play-offs

Opener Rahul Tripathi upstaged his expensive team-mates with a brutal 93 from only 52 in yet another victory for Pune.

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Rising Pune Supergiant spinner Washington Sundar

Rahul Tripathi bludgeoned his highest Indian Premier League score as the in-form Rising Pune Supergiant maintained their march towards the play-offs with a four-wicket win over the second-placed Kolkata Knight Riders.

Centurion Ben Stokes was Pune's hero in the win over Gujarat Lions on Monday, but it was opener Tripathi who got them home two days later with a blistering 93 from only 52 balls – including seven sixes – at Eden Gardens.

Jaydev Unadkat (2-28) and Washington Sundar (2-18) took two wickets apiece as KKR made 155-8 after Steve Smith won the toss and put the home side in.

Chris Woakes took 3-18 to give the Knight Riders hope, but it was Tripathi rather than the big-money recruits who was the star of the show for Pune this time around, sealing a sixth win in their last seven games to put his side third.

Smith and Stokes escaped injury when they collided in the field and KKR quick Nathan Coulter-Nile went off after bowling three overs, having earlier been struck on the helmet by a short ball from Dan Christian on a dramatic night.

Unadkat started with a rare IPL wicket maiden after taking a superb caught and bowled chance offered by Sunil Narine, who failed to make double figures for the third match in a row.

Sundar had a stroke of luck when Sheldon Jackson (10) stepped on his stumps after working the ball into the leg side and the spinner struck again just as Gautam Gambhir (24) appeared to be in full flow.

KKR were 55-4 after Imran Tahir trapped Yusuf Pathan in front for four, but Colin de Grandhomme made 36 off 19 balls and Suryakumar Yadav, in for the injured Robin Uthappa, added a quickfire unbeaten 30.

Umesh Yadav tucked up Ajinkya Rahane (11) to get the opener caught behind in the second over of Pune's reply, but the outstanding Tripathi took centre stage with some fierce striking.

Coulter-Nile was able to send down 18 deliveries before going off looking shaken after taking a nasty blow from a delivery from fellow Australian Christian, but there was a huge roar from the crowd when England all-rounder Woakes removed Smith's off stump with the skipper having contributed just nine runs.

Woakes also cleaned up Manoj Tiwary (8) and Stokes fell for just 14, but Tripathi continued to score at a rate of knots, dealing mainly in boundaries, before the superb Woakes denied him a century to leave Christian to hit a six to win it in the last over.

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