Opener Nitish Rana (80) and Rahul Tripathi (53) hit fluent half-centuries to propel Kolkata Knight Riders to a challenging 187 for six against Sunrisers Hyderabad in their Indian Premier League match, here on Sunday.
SRH’s Rashid Khan (2/24) was yet again at his best, asking tough questions to the batsmen but most of his bowling colleagues proved ineffective on a batting-friendly wicket.
Dinesh Karthik (22 not out off 9 balls) provided a late flourish to KKR innings but they could gather only 42 runs in the last five overs.
Left-handed opener Rana struck the ball hard and clean to provide his side a confident start after they were asked to take first strike.
His strokes on the off-side — the drives and cuts – were of highest quality and a treat to the eye.
Neither Bhuvneshwar Kumar nor T Natarajan could stop Rana from hitting boundaries even as Subhman Gill was quiet initially.
Sandeep Sharma was hit for three boundaries in a row by him.
Gill opened up his arms to hit a massive straight six off Natarajan to make it even better for KKR.
However, the run-flow was affected when ever-reliable Rashid got the ball in his hands.
He also provided the breakthrough when he deceived Gill with a wrong’un to find the stumps.
Rana though kept going strong, completing his half-century with a six off Vijay Shankar after surviving an LBW appeal off Rashid.
He got the decision overturned, taking the DRS call.
Rana’s six-hitting continued after getting his fifty as he punished Natarajan and Sandeep again.
His colleague at the other end Rahul Tripathi also stroked confidently and fluently.
He smashed a massive six off Bhuvneshwar and then followed it up with a cheeky four in the third-man region.
He completed his fifty with another boundary off Bhuvneshwar but was dismissed by Natarajan soon after when he top-edged a ball.
Rashid too sent back dangerous Andre Russell (5) back.
Mohammed Nabi (2/32) got rid of Rana and Eoin Morgan (2) off successive balls in the 18th over.