Rahul Tripathi and Ben Stokes put on a 43-run stand for the fourth wicket which powered Pune to a four wicket win - their sixth in seven matches - and moved them to third spot in the Indian Twenty20 competition at Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Wednesday.
Kolkata, having been put in on a two-paced surface, found it difficult to find fluency throughout their innings. Jayant Yadav tied them down with neat figures of 2 for 28. Despite Manish Pandey, Colin de Grandhomme and Survakumar Yadav making quick 30s, Kolkata managed just 155. While Pune's bowlers took the pace off the ball, Kolkata's seamers banged it into the surface and yielded rewards, with Umesh Yadav accounting for Ajinkya Rahane and Chris Woakes for Smith and Manoj Tiwary. The tourists were at 88 for 3 in nine overs, when Stokes and Tripathi came together.
The usually aggressive Stokes struck just one boundary in his 15-ball 14, but he didn't need to do much more as Tripathi tore into the opposition at the other end, by hitting 78 off his 93 in boundaries, including three-straight sixes off Kuldeep Yadav in the 13th over. Tripathi finally fell in the 19th over after scoring at a strike rate of 178.84. Daniel Christian ended the chase with four balls to spare.