Kolkata Knight Riders v Rising Pune Supergiant, IPL 2017, Kolkata May 4, 2017

I just go with my gut feeling - Tripathi

ESPNcricinfo staff

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'Tripathi caught eye even in domestic season' - Tiwary

Rahul Tripathi's barrage of boundaries against Kolkata Knight Riders, one of the strongest bowling line-ups in the tournament, was a result of going with the gut feeling and not having any particular plans, the Rising Pune Supergiant opener has said. Tripathi smashed 78 of his 93 runs with boundaries only - nine fours and seven sixes - before he was dismissed in the penultimate over of the chase when Rising Pune were six runs away from their target. Tripathi said he did not rue missing out on the century since Rising Pune won and moved to third place in the table.

'I think that worked well (going with the gut feeling),' Tripathi told iplt20.com. 'If I had made some plans that wouldn't have worked because these are good bowlers, they are a good bowling side. So I just kept it simple to watch the ball and hit the ball and just go with my gut feeling. Keeping my mind blank…that was important and that helped me today. I played as the ball was coming so I played according to the merit of the ball.

'I feel good. I was getting good starts so I wanted to carry on that start. It's good that we won the match, that is more important. I am very happy. I would have loved to finish the match, that's one thing. But it's ok, if we win the match it's ok I miss the century.'

Tripathi has impressed with his crisp strokeplay while opening in the tournament as he sits fifth on the run-scorers' list behind international stars David Warner, Gautam Gambhir, Robin Uthappa and Shikhar Dhawan. Tripathi has provided Rising Pune with rapid starts by scoring freely against fast bowlers, especially by targeting the off side, and reveled on a relaid pacer-friendly Eden Gardens pitch on Wednesday night. While has has scored briskly against spinners too, his 224 runs against quicks at a strike rate of 159 stand out against his 128 runs against spinners at a scoring rate of 149. He later said sharing the dressing room with international players and getting words of praise from his opening partner Ajinkya Rahane had given him a lot of confidence.

'It's helping me a lot, it's a dream experience for me. Opening with Ajinkya bhai, even if he says simple things like, 'you are batting well,' you get a belief that somebody like Ajinkya Rahane is telling you that you are hitting the ball well with good intent,' Tripathi said. 'Even off the field, Faf [du Plessis] is there, Ben [Stokes] is there, even the coaches, our team is having so much fun. Playing with MS [Dhoni] bhai…he's a legend. Two times I've been not out luckily while batting with him.'

On Wednesday, Tripathi showed his love for the leg side too. Out of the seven sixes he struck, six were smashed on the leg side against Umesh Yadav, Nathan Coulter-Nile and Kuldeep Yadav. While he pulled and hooked fearlessly against the quick bowlers, he made reading Kuldeep's wristspin look easy by hammering him for three straight sixes in the 13th over. Kuldeep had troubled Dhoni and Manoj Tiwary with his wrong'uns in their previous match in Pune, but on Wednesday, Tripathi smacked 29 runs off the 10 balls he faced from the wristspinner.

Tripathi has now scored more runs than his international team-mates Steven Smith and Stokes and has given his team solid starts even as Rahane has not scored big while averaging just over 20 in 11 innings. Tripathi is also the top-scorer in the Powerplays this season, surpassing Warner's 238 off 160 balls. Tripathi has scored 251 runs off 144 balls so far.

However, he did not hesitate to admit that batting in front of big crowds in the IPL got him nervous sometimes. Twice Tripathi has been run-out in the tournament and he acknowledged it was because he was late to react to the calls when they needed quick runs.

'I'm not that much used to playing in front of such crowds so I got late to react both times,' he said.