Robin Uthappa lives the batsman's dream
Rising Pune Supergiant put 182 on the board, but their bowlers were so woeful that by the last five overs of the chase, the required rate was less than a run a ball. Crucial catches went down, boundary balls came by the bucketload, the pitch was gorgeous and there was dew too. Batsmen dream about days like these.
Robin Uthappa got the chance to live it. He has been displaced from the top of the order, with the team compensating the loss of Andre Russell's power down the order with a pinch hitter as opener, but the demands of the No. 3 slot are not too different. He could still count on playing the majority of the 20 overs and he likes having that responsibility. He also likes getting on the front foot and hitting through the line. Against a Pune attack filled with nothing but medium-pacers, he was the perfect power-hitter.
Uthappa got his first four off his sixth ball - was dropped off the 13th - and took full toll of it by making his highest IPL score - 87 off 47 balls at a strike-rate of 185.10. By the time he was done, Knight Riders were on top of the IPL points table.
The wow moment
It was in the 10th over when Uthappa discovered he could do just about anything today. Left-arm seamer Jaydev Unadkat pitched a shortish delivery outside off stump, but the batsman moved across outside off, got down on one knee and then scooped it to the long leg boundary. Besides the execution of the stroke, his knowing fine leg was up inside the circle and was ripe for the picking was notable.
Stats that matter
- Uthappa hit 13 boundaries in 47 balls - that's 3.61 balls per boundary
- His strike-rate of 185.10 is his highest under condition of 30 balls faced in an IPL innings
- KKR have won six out of six games at the MCA stadium in Pune
What they said
"I think Robin is probably the most underrated T20 player in India. He's Mr Consistent. He's got such a wonderful hitting technique, baseball-like."
Former Australia cricketer Matthew Hayden is almost in awe.
"I think I have settled into my technique and so I have a lot of faith in what I'm doing."
Robin Uthappa is in a happy place.
Alagappan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo