"I promise you, Harsha, you're going to see some real fireworks this year"
That is Robin Uthappa's opening quote in his interview with Harsha Bhogle earlier this month. Turns out, that wasn't just lip service. On Wednesday, Uthappa smashed his highest IPL score - 87 off 47 balls - to help KKR snap Rising Pune Supergiant's three-match winning spree and also climb atop the points table once again. Enroute to his best, Uthappa added a 158-run stand with Gautam Gambhir as KKR put on a ruthless show to complete a seven-wicket win.
No opener's slot? No problem at all
The Karnataka batsman is enjoying life at KKR like always. And he's doing the same at No.3 as well. Ajinkya Rahane and Steve Smith's batting exploits meant that KKR were handed the tough task of chasing a stiff total of 183. With three stumpings, Uthappa made an impact even before he came out to bat, but the clincher was still what he did in the second half of the game. Uthappa's sensational innings included 7 fours and 6 sixes.
How it happened :
Sunil Narine opened the innings again. And went after the bowling straightaway again. But on this occasion, he didn't last beyond the third over. His wicket brought Uthappa and Gambhir, KKR's most-trusted batting pair, together. By the end of powerplay overs, KKR had 45 for 1. In the seventh, Uthappa offered a chance when he went for a big hit and didn't connect, but Jaydev Unadkat at deep square leg, made a mess of a straightforward opportunity. After being dropped on 12, there was no turning back for Uthappa, as he took on the bowlers with aplomb. Rookie spinner Washington Sundar was the first to bear the brunt of the Uthappa carnage, as the stocky batsman whacked him for a four and two sixes in three balls. There was six off Imran Tahir in the next over, followed by three fours off Unadkat in the 10th. By the halfway stage, KKR were ahead of the asking rate, with 101 for 1. Uthappa had raced to a 25-ball 49. The half-century came off the very next ball as he continued to punish the RPS bowlers. Daniel Christian and Rahul Tripathi were next in line to face Uthappa's wrath as Steve Smith was starting to run out ideas rather swiftly. Uthappa took a special liking for Tahir and hit two more sixes off him, before skying one to Tripathi at long-off and walking off to an ovation. By the time he departed, KKR already had 178 runs on the board and needed just 5 off 19 balls.
What he said :
"I have always been strong. I said to somebody a few weeks ago that I have settled down with my technique. I feel confident and I am enjoying myself out there. It is very important to respect the momentum that we have created for ourselves. Generally what happens is a team starts well and then takes the foot off the pedal in the second half of the tournament. We have discussed that it is important to finish in the top two. I can get better with the gloves. I am enjoying it though. MS has set the benchmark for all the Indians. Trying to get there, slowly but surely. It was a slightly slower wicket compared to where we are coming from. Initially it was slightly dry but under the lights, with the dew, it gets better for batting."