Kolkata Knight Riders seem intent on not opening with Robin Uthappa. In the previous match against Kings XI Punjab, coming in at No. 3, Uthappa found his fluency and timing. Until he missed a scoop off Axar Patel. Against Sunrisers Hyderabad, he shouldn't have had the chance to re-find his touch. He edged Bhuvneshwar Kumar behind off the first ball, but umpire Anil Dandekar didn't think so.
Uthappa hardly mis-timed a ball thereafter. In the sixth over, Sunrisers turned to their weapon, Rashid Khan. Uthappa was convincingly beaten by a ripping legbreak off the first ball. He then chose the best option against spin he wasn't reading - the flat bat. He hammered a six over long-on off the next delivery, disallowing Rashid from settling into a length.
He finished with five fours and four sixes and his first fifty of the season (68 off 39 balls). He selflessly holed out in the 15th over, looking to improve on Knight Riders' strong base.
The wow moment
Uthappa struck several flat-batted strokes and some fluent drives. But at the start of the 11th over, he produced his best stroke. He had premeditated a sweep off Moises Henriques - fine leg was up and square leg was far too straight. The ball was quick, straight and full, surprising Uthappa. Despite being hurried through his stroke, Uthappa brought down his angled bat in time, made sufficient connection and found the found the gap behind square for a flat six.
Uthappa struck at 174.35, but the rest of the Knight Riders batsmen had an average strike rate of 114.81.
Uthappa took Rashid for 21 runs in 12 balls, the most any batsman has scored off him in this IPL.
He also struck 37 off 14 balls through the midwicket and long-on area. Out of his 68 runs, 52 came on the leg side.
What they said
"Finally, after years of hard work I've settled in the new technique. I had an overhaul a few years ago and I'm feeling like my old self to go after the bowlers and have faith in myself. I like it at No. 3 because the team needs me there. I like the fact that I have responsibility on my shoulders."
Robin Uthappa on his form and technique