Robin Uthappa has been the batting mainstay in the Kolkata Knight Riders camp in Indian Premier League 2014. The former Indian wicketkeeper-batsman has outshined his senior partner and skipper Gautam Gambhir so far as KKR look good to seal a play-off berth.
Robin Uthappa is the first batsman to register 40 or more in seven successive innings in the IPL. Retired Australian opener Matthew Hayden (2009), Virender Sehwag (2012) and Michael Hussey (2013) have recorded a similar feat five times each.
Uthappa scored a breezy 67 off 39 balls against a quality Chennai Super Kings attack at the Eden Gardens as KKR cantered to an eight-win win at home. This was Uthappa's fourth fifty in IPL 2014 and 12th overall.
Uthappa's aggregate of 489 (ave.40.75) in 12 innings is the highest by an Indian batsman in IPL this year. Uthappa leads the run getters' charts among the Indians and lies next to Orange cap holder Kings XI Punjab's Glenn Maxwell who has 531 from 11 matches. For his lead-from-the-front innings, the Karnataka star got his third MOM award in IPL.
It has been a resurrection for Uthappa who last featured for India more than two years ago in T20. Uthappa has been phenomenal after being promoted up the order with his last seven innings reading 47, 65, 47, 46, 80, 40 and 67. NDTV expert Dean Jones already feels Uthappa is a strong contender for the Indian Test squad.
With Gambhir, Uthappa also featured in two century-plus partnerships in the last six matches. With the duo in sublime form, it has been a case of building a strong foundation to make it easy for the middle order which has not been tested the way the team think-tank would have liked to.
All of KKR's five wins have come chasing a target with strong foundation by the openers after their bowlers restricted opposition teams to below 160.
(With inputs from Rajesh Kumar and PTI)