RCB vs KKR: Narine's all-around show dismantles RCB in the eliminator
Sunil Narine's all-around performance powered the Kolkata Knight Riders to a four-wicket win against the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the eliminator at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium. The mystery spinner picked up 4/21 with the ball to help the team restrict the formidable batting unit of RCB to 138/7 in the first innings. He followed it up by smashing three consecutive sixes with the bat and scored a quick-fire 26 off 15 deliveries to help the team inch closer to the target.
After being asked to bowl first, RCB started the innings steadily, with Virat Kohli and Devdutt Padikkal making optimum use of the field restrictions. The duo added 49 runs for the first wicket before Lockie Ferguson provided the Knight Riders with a crucial breakthrough on the first ball of the sixth over as he dismissed Padikkal for 21. The boys in Purple and Gold restricted the flow of runs post the dismissal of the southpaw and added enormous pressure on skipper Kohli and KS Bharat.
In the middle overs, Sunil Narine wreaked havoc by picking up four vital wickets to dent the flow of runs. The 33-year old started the proceedings by scalping the wicket of Bharat as he tried to clear the boundary rope and was caught at long-off by Venkatesh Iyer for 9. Our mystery spinner followed this with the prized scalp of Kolhi and AB de Villiers to tilt the match in favour of the Knights. While Kohli was bowled trying to smash the ball to the leg side for 39, de Villiers was undone by the ball coming into him for 11. With two of the mainstays in the batting unit dismissed, the onus of the side relied heavily on Glenn Maxwell. However, the hard-hitting batter was dismissed as he tried to accelerate and score quick runs in the back end of the innings to give Narine his fourth wicket of the match.
Narine returned with figures of 4/21 to help the side restrict RCB for 138/7 in the first innings. He was well supported by economical spells from Shakib Al Hasan and Varun Chakaravarthy as they finished their four-over spells by giving way 24 and 20 runs, respectively.
Chasing 139 runs, the Knight Riders got off to a flying start in the powerplay courtesy of Shubman Gill and Iyer's 41-run partnership. However, with wickets at regular intervals in the middle overs, the Knights Riders were 79/3 when Narine walked in to take centre stage. The southpaw smashed Dan Christian for three consecutive sixes to tilt the match in favour of KKR. The 33-year old was adjudged the Man of the Match for his crucial knock of 26 and four wickets with the ball that powered the team to a four-wicket win.
The Knight Riders will take on Delhi Capitals in Qualifier 2 on Wednesday, 13th October, at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium.