Narine shows why he is still a precious commodity in the IPL | Ipl News

Narine

Synopsis: Narine’s fireworks, in his 500th T20 appearance, topple Kohli’s masterclass, despite hoddy catching and expensive Starc

A few hours before the match, Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) mentor Gautam Gambhir was shown telling the host broadcasters in a prerecorded video that “the one team I wanted to beat every time and probably in my dreams was RCB,” Gambhir said. His team did not let him down, as they brushed aside RCB by seven wickets in a full-house Chinnaswamy Stadium. Thus, they became the first team to win a game on the road in IPL-17.

Narine’s onslaught, Venky’s flair

Chasing 183 to win, Sunil Narine came down on the Bengaluru bowlers like a ton of bricks and smashed a 22-ball 47 as Kolkata scored 85 runs in the first six overs.

KKR’s chase started with Phil Salt hitting Mohammed Siraj for a six and looted 18 runs from the first over. Thereafter, the home bowlers looked rattled. Skipper Faf only used pacers in the powerplay to exploit the vulnerability of Narine against short balls. But the veteran in his trademark style kept clearing his front leg and the boundary rope. He belted his fellow Caribbean Alzarri Joseph for 14 runs, including two sixes over the long-on boundary. The best was reserved for Yash Dayal, who was pasted for 21 runs in the last over of the powerplay. Left-arm spinner Mayank Dagar ended his assault with a yorker-length ball. But it was too late.

Narine Bengaluru: Kolkata Knight Riders’ Venkatesh Iyer plays a shot during the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024 T20 cricket match between Royal Challengers Bengaluru and Kolkata Knight Riders, at M Chinnaswamy Stadium, in Bengaluru, Friday, March 29, 2024. (PTI Photo/Shailendra Bhojak)

RCB did pull things back by removing Salt too. But Venkatesh Iyer sustained the tempo with some disdainful hitting, especially through the line. He thumped Joseph for 20 runs to snuff out comeback hopes.

Festive offer

His 50 off 30 balls turbocharged KKR, and even though he perished wuth the victory in KKR captain Shreyas Iyer steered them to victory with 19 balls to spare with a timely unbeaten 39 off 24 deliveries.

Kohli’s flick

After his tongue-in-cheek “has still got it” comment post the previous encounter against Punjab Kings, the 35-year-old continued his purple patch with a classy 83 not out off 59 deliveries. He forged a valuable 65-run stand for the second wicket with Cameron Green, who scored a quickfire 33 before a late flourish from Dinesh Karthik (8-ball 20) helped the home team to reach 182 for 6.

He had largely not resorted to heaves and slogs in his T20 career, but with his place in the India squad for the World T20 supposedly under a cloud of doubt, he has displayed more enterprise this season. Against Punjab, he charged down the ground to hit Kagiso Rabada and Arshdeep Singh for two exquisite cover drives. On Friday, his wrist work was on full show.

Narine Bengaluru: Royal Challengers Bengaluru’s Virat Kohli plays a shot during the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024 T20 cricket match between Royal Challengers Bengaluru and Kolkata Knight Riders, at M Chinnaswamy Stadium, in Bengaluru, Friday, March 29, 2024. (PTI Photo/Shailendra Bhojak)

The most memorable of his four sixes came against Mitchell Starc, who he buried over deep midwicket with a trademark bottom-handed flick. He even executed a couple of slog-sweeps, on one knee, one apiece against the mystery spin duo of Sunil Narine and Varun Chakravarthy.

The fourth one was more of a whip than the flick but again it was Kohli’s bottom hand that took the ball into the stands. Those wrists swung into the action when smacked Mitchell Starc into the stands over deep midwicket in the last over.

Costly Starc, slippery hands

The surface offering nothing, Mitchell Starc pulled his length back immediately after the first two balls. He found Kohli’s outside edge as it ran down to the third-man boundary. Kohli was seen indicating to his captain Faf du Plessis that there was no shape. His night would only get longer and the costliest buy in the IPL history conceded 47 in four overs. The left-arm pacer, returning to Bengaluru where he played two seasons, almost a decade ago, remained wicketless in this tournament. In eight overs has conceded 100 runs this IPL.

He at least clung on to a catch at fine-leg when Harshit Rana deceived a scooping Faf du Plessis with a slower delivery, a ball after he had dinked him for a six. But they dropped three catches later, taking their tally to seven in two. The KKR were lucky that the dropped catch didn’t cost them the game. They dropped Glenn Maxwell twice, on 11 and 21. The common thread of Maxwell’s dropped catch was Sunil Narine. First, the Australian was dropped by Ramandeep Singh of his bowling and then he dropped a dolly at short third man, this time the bowler was Harshit Rana. One too many hoicks ended Maxwell’s innings and Narine was third-time lucky as Rinku Singh held onto the third offering. Then Andre Russell suffocated RCB with his change of pace and clever mixing of lengths. He was KKR’s most effective bowler, picking up two wickets for 29 runs and keeping them on a tight leash.

Get latest updates on IPL 2024 from IPL Points Table to Teams, Schedule, Most Runs and Most Wickets along with live score updates for all matches. Also get Sports news and more cricket updates.

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