Rising Pune Supergiants' middle-order batsman Manoj Tiwary ternmed Rahul Tripathi's 93 as an “outstanding knock” but rated Ben Stokes' century against Gujarat Lions as a “better” one simply for the adverse situation in which he scored those runs.
“Honestly I will put Ben Stokes' innings ahead of Tripathi's. We were 10/3 in the last match. The way he took us through was a treat to watch. It was one of the best innings I have witnessed,” Tiwary told reporters after Supergiant beat Kolkata Knight Riders in their away encounter.
But he was all praise for Tripathi, who has been one of the finds of the season.
“Rahul was outstanding today. He's been in good touch from the start of the season. Last year, he scored a hundred against Bengal (domestic season). I knew that he would come up. He's been good touch, I'm really happy that he carried that momentum into IPL,” Tiwary said.
The Bengal captain feels that gone are those days when youngsters were nervous when pitted against world class players during the initial days of IPL.
“Initially in the IPL, youngsters were nervous. Nowadays they are all matured enough to deal with all these situation. They are not intimidated by jam packed stadiums. The focus is on the middle. It didn't look like Rahul was focusing anywhere apart from the 22-yards. His fanbase will grow further after this.”
But Tiwary didn't forget to mention that Stokes' inspirational performance against Gujarat Lions has played a massive part in Rising Pune Supergiant's resurgence.
“It would have been a difficult game here. But Ben Stokes' inspirational knock has helped us a lot to do well at KKR's home venue. It's pretty pleasing to see everyone contributing and we are peaking at the right time,” Tiwary said.
The gap between matches in the IPL is minimal and that's the reason a stand-out performance like one from Stokes lifts the morale of the side.
“Whenever you are winning, everyone is in a good state of mind and there are a lot of happy faces around. It was an inspirational knock (referring to Stokes).”
On their win against KKR, Tiwary said that everyone was keen to grab the No 3 slot in the points table.
“We were at number four (in the table) and we knew we would climb to number three should we win. That was going in the back of our mind. They are such a strong and balanced side. We are now psychologically ahead as we head towards the play-offs.”