New Delhi: Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS) continued their good form in the tenth edition of Indian Premier League (IPL) with a brilliant win over Kolkata Knight Riders on Wednesday. RPS' stuttering campaign is back on track as Steve Smith and his men have now registered three consecutive wins in a row.
While the team boasts of some big names in Ajinkya Rahane, Ben Stokes, Faf du Plessis, MS Dhoni and Smith himself, the surprise package of Pune's campaign this year has been Rahul Tripathi - the opener who has impressed one and all with his consistency in the tenth edition.
After Mayank Agarwal managed to score just six runs in the first two matches, RPS gave Tripathi a chance to open the innings and the right-hander grabbed the opportunity with both hands. Slowly but steadily, Rahul lived upto the faith of the team management and has earned a name for himself by receiving huge praise from entire cricket fraternity.
Since his first match against Delhi Daredevils this season, Rahul has produced eight 30-plus scores in nine games. While Rahane is still struggling to find his mojo, the youngster has taken a lot of pressure off the shoulders of senior batsmen.
If there was any doubt over his ability, Rahul proved his mettle yet again with a stupendous 93-run knock against two-time IPL winners KKR on their home ground. It was a remarkable innings, where he kept finding boundaries as wickets tumbled from the other end.
It was because of his knock that RPS pulled off a four-wicket win.
Delighted with the knock, Rahul said, "I am just trying to middle the ball, this is all new for me (the big crowds), so I am just trying to concentrate on what I can do," said Tripathi.
"Watch the ball, hit the ball is my way. I know there are areas I need to improve, but I am just doing what I can. I hit six sixes two times in an over recently. I am happy to be hitting the ball well and hopefully it continues," he added.
Smith too was full of praise for the 26-year-old, who will certainly be one to watch out for at the auction next year.
"Been a good little run for us, six out of seven games. Tonight was a really good team performance. We did really well to keep them to 150 and Tripathi, hasn't he been a revelation," said Smith.
Talking more about the team's performance, Smith added: "The games we've won, we've taken wickets through the middle overs and put the brakes on the opposition. Had quite a few different guys stand up and get us over the line. Good for us.
"Hopefully we're there come finals time. We thought it would slow down later in the game, so we went pretty hard against the new ball. Then Tripathi just kept going. Unfortunate he didn't get a hundred. He really deserved it."
Pune are now ranked third in the points table with seven wins from 11 matches. They are becoming a force to reckon with and will now take on defending champions Sunrisers Hyderabad at Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad on May 6.