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Star Performer: Rahul Tripathi, knight in shining armour

By HARISH KOTIAN
October 08, 2020 07:12 IST
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Rahul Tripathi

IMAGE: Kolkata Knight Riders's Rahul Tripathi hits out during the IPL game against the Chennai Super Kings. Photograph: BCCI/IPL
 

When you get an opportunity, make sure you grab it with both hands. That seems to be the mantra for Kolkata Knight Riders's Rahul Tripathi, who not only grabbed the opportunity but also built on it.

Tripathi got his first outing in IPL 2020 in KKR's previous game against the Delhi Capitals, coming in to bat at No 8, with the match looking out of his team's reach.

When he walked in, KKR needed 107 from 39 balls, but the young Tripathi, in Eoin Morgan's company, nearly took the team to an unbelievable victory.

Chasing 229 for victory, KKR eventually fell short by 18 runs, but Tripathi stood out with his breezy cameo of 36 from 18 balls.

It was this brief spark with the bat that saw him get promoted as opener in the match against the Chennai Super Kings.

Once again, he made sure he did not let go of the rare opportunity he was provided.

He got KKR off and running with a boundary from the first ball, through fine leg, off Deepak Chahar, and there was no looking back.

The Ranchi-born right-hander, who plays for Maharashtra in domestic cricket, was at his fluent best as he kept the runs coming in the Powerplay, and even someone like Shubman Gill had to take a backseat.

Rahul was harsh on anything on his pads, as Chahar found out when he was hit for a couple of fours in the third over.

Tripathi, who played for Rajasthan Royals and Rising Pune Supergiants in the past, repeated the dose on Sam Curran in the next over with another couple of fours.

Chahar is CSK's key bowler in the Powerplay overs, as he not only picks early wickets but also keeps the runs down. But in Wednesday's game he suffered at Tripathi's bat, going for 33 runs in his first three overs.

Leg-spinner Karn Sharma got a rude welcome when he was slammed for a six over long-on in his opening over before Tripathi slashed Dwayne Bravo over point for a four to race to his fifty, from just 31 balls.

Chahar came back for his final spell and yet again Tripathi took him to the cleaners, hitting for a four and six through fine leg, as CSK went for 47 runs in his four overs -- his most expensive in the IPL.

Even though Morgan (7) and Andre Russell (2) failed, KKR posted a competitive 167, courtesy of Tripathi's brilliant 81 from 51 balls.

With KKR Co-owner Shah Rukh Khan looking from the stands, Tripathi showed he belongs on the big stage!

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HARISH KOTIAN / Rediff.com
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