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Rahul Tripathi opens up about playing with Dhoni, Smith and Rahane

Tripathi's brilliant 41-ball 59 saw Tripathi stroke 6 boundaries and 3 big sixes.

Rahul Tripathi
Rahul Tripathi. (Photo Source: BCCI)

Maharashtra batsman Rahul Tripathi would be proud to have a hand in Rising Pune Supergiant’s thrilling victory over the Sunrisers Hyderabad. Tripathi, who opened the batting with the classy Ajinkya Rahane, scored his maiden IPL half century as the Supergiant chased down 177 at the MCA Stadium.

His brilliant 41-ball 59 saw Tripathi stroke 6 boundaries and 3 big sixes. During his stint at the crease, Rahul also had the opportunity to bat alongside two modern day greats MS Dhoni and Steve Smith.

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Following the team’s last-ball win which was handed to them by Dhoni’s calm finish, Tripathi opened up about his knock which set up a much-needed win for RPS.

“I felt extremely nice. Firstly, opening with Rahane was a great experience for me. I tried to see how the ball is behaving in one or two overs and then go and play shots as we required a run-rate of 9 per over. I tried to go big on the loose deliveries and give the team a good start in the first six overs as we have been doing in the last couple of games,” Tripathi shared about his smooth innings.

As Ajinkya Rahane caught up with the youngster after the game, he asked Tripathi what his experiences were while batting alongside himself, Dhoni and Smith.

“When I play with you in the nets, I keep a close watch on the smallest of techniques that you apply while batting. With Steve, he brings in his different style of play and when Mahi bhai comes to the ground, all you hear is the crowd chanting ‘Dhoni Dhoni’. That’s the kind of aura he is,” Tripathi said.

“For me it is a great learning curve as all the hard work that I have put in at my club cricket, I only want to improve on it by learning, how much ever I can, with you people being around,” he added.

26-year-old Tripathi put on a crucial 72-run partnership with Steve Smith after Rahane was dismissed for 2. Smith, however, perished, much to the delight of the crowd as it meant MS Dhoni would come out to the middle. The platform was set for Dhoni to once again play his favourite role of ‘the finisher’, and he indeed took centre stage.

Needing 40 odd runs in the last three overs, Dhoni stepped up his game. He dispatched Bhuvneshwar Kumar in the penultimate over to bring down the equation to 11 off the last over. With RPS requiring 2 runs off the final delivery, Dhoni drove through the covers to take his side over the finish line. His 61 off just 34 balls earned MS Dhoni the Man of the Match award.

Rahul Tripathi shared his thoughts on watching the former Indian captain bat from the non-striker’s end.

“When I used to watch Mahi bhai finish games on television, it looked as if it was an easy task, but after having spent time with him on and off the field, I realise that his level of calmness under pressure is what one needs to learn,” Tripathi said.

“The kind of shots that he played today as soon as he came out in the middle were unbelievable. I can only keep learning as much as I can in his presence,” he concluded.

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