Nitish Rana has been a consistent performer for Kolkata Knight Riders and although he didn't light up the batting for KKR last season, he made a big impact in the IPL 2021 season opener against SunRisers Hyderabad on Sunday.
Opening the batting, Rana and Shubman Gill tore apart the SunRisers bowling in the Powerplay overs.
Rana took the attack to Sandeep Sharma, hammering him for three consecutive fours -- playing the ball through the covers, cutting the ball and then scoring one off a lap towards the backward square leg region.
Once KKR lost Gill after the Powerplay overs, Rana and No 3 bat Rahul Tripathi did not let the momentum slip.
They found the boundaries over after over and ensured that the singles and twos were also taken.
Rashid Khan was difficult to get hold of, but the KKR duo went after the other Afghan bowler, Mohammad Nabi, who was taken for 32 runs off his four overs.
Seam or spin, there was no mercy shown as Rana and Tripathi toyed with the bowling. Bhuvaneshwar Kumar, Sandeep, T Natarajan, all of them were wayward and got their just fruits.
It was a tremendous batting display from both batsmen who posted a 97-run stand before Tripathi was dismissed by Natarajan in the 16th over. Rana (80 off 56) and Tripathi (53 off 29) breached the 50 run mark in their innings.
Their solid partnership laid the platform for KKR to finish their innings on a high and set a big target of 188 which SunRisers eventually fell short by 10 runs.