Jack of all trades Sunil Narine lords on RCB

The Kolkata Knight Riders won over the Royal Challengers Bangalore in a game of punches and counter punches because Sunil Narine made the difference in The Eliminator.

KKR seizing the moments reflected a team reveling under pressure. RCB, a team that are not used to winning knockout games in the IPL, are expected to hit their stride in Virat Kohli’s final season as skipper. But they didn’t, especially when KKR used their spinners to tie up RCB’s sleeves.

Sunil Narine of Kolkata Knight Riders plays in Monday’s playoff game.
(Photo by Rahul Gulati / Sportzpics for IPL)

Narine tipped the scales in his side’s favor with three sixes in a pass from Dan Cristian, after RCB rallied at Venkatesh Iyer’s wicket – a nice garnish on his 4/21 winner of the game. Kohli walked into his IPL harbor master’s office sunset empty-handed. KKR, chasing 139 for the win, won by four wickets to advance to Qualifying 2, against Delhi Capitals.

RCB’s batting stats had been disappointing: Kohli, 39 of 33 balls, 118 hit rate, opening the innings. KS Bharat, nine of 16 balls, hit rate 56. Glenn Maxwell, 15 of 18 balls, hit rate 83. AB de Villiers, 11 of nine, hit rate 122. RCB innings did not have a single one. six.

An intermediate collapse resulted in their fall, but the batsmen who threw it did not. Narine hypnotized them with his cunning.

He was brought into the attack in the 10th, after the ball got a little older and started to catch on the surface. Nostril started with the scalp of KS Bharat.

Since returning with a reshaped action, the spinner has focused more on the cutters than the breaks. He no longer plays doosra, once his shock has been released, replacing it with a leg cutter. For his counter-threads as well, on several occasions during this year’s tournament, Narine bowled with a straight seam, rolling his fingers over it like counter-knives. Today he played conventional off-breaks and made some serious changes to the ball. He read the pitch perfectly, but more than the revolution, the line did the trick. Sharjah’s length of six meters was hit with precision. Also, Narine beautifully varied his pace.

Kohli’s dismissal was a good example of this. As the races settled down after Powerplay, Kohli grew impatient. An unusual slog-slog-sweep ensued, but Narine had probably been ahead of it. He started the off-break a bit slower, up close to the stumps, making sure he didn’t come down with the angle. The ball went under the bat and disrupted the stump of the leg.
De Villiers, too, was fundamentally finished by the line. The midline was tempting enough to play it crosswise, to the side of the leg. Once again, Narine had played it slower, allowing for an optimal turn, and the ball went through the gate.

Maxwell made two attempts to overthrow Narine in desperation. The latter canceled the attempts with variations in pace and an excellent line. A vicious off-break followed, forcing the drummer to cut his slog-sweep attempt.

Narine had not yet finished. When the game was on a razor’s edge and KKR needed an impact, his 26 of 15 balls at No.5 took the game away from RCB. Once the requested rate fell below six, the pressure eased considerably.

RCB starter again

With seven points required after the final, two experienced KKR batsmen, Eoin Morgan and Shakib Al Hasan, remained calm. RCB, for its part, gradually gave up the initiative. Devdutt Padikkal’s break was the first mistake.

RCB had run to 49 for no loss after five overs, hitting first on a Sharjah field that played true at the start. Then Padikkal got thirsty. On his return, Lockie Ferguson taunted him. The break didn’t help the opener’s concentration. “Why do you need a glass of water after five games?” Sunil Gavaskar raised the issue on the air.

Bharat got to No.3 and entered a shell, putting extra pressure on Kohli at the other end. Instead of bringing the confidence of a last ball to six against the Delhi Capitals, the wicket-hitter keeper was apparently impressed with the opportunity.

When KKR struck, Shahbaz Ahmed dropped a dolly to give Iyer a break as the match was intriguing. Padikkal dropped Narine to deprive the excellent Harshal Patel (2/19) of his record 33rd wicket of the season. After Narine left, an unnecessary throw from Maxwell gave Morgan an extra run. Once again, RCB’s usual big game strangulation hampered them.

Kohli sign

At the end of his term as captain at RCB, an IPL title would be a glaring omission after nine years in charge. Kohli really wanted to win, as evidenced by his dissatisfaction with referee Virender Sharma’s rulings – three decisions overturned during the review justify the anger somewhat. As far as his moves in this game go, Kohli likely missed a trick by not easily bringing Yuzvendra Chahal back after Iyer was released, leaving Christian the next one instead. The leggie (2/16) served as another reminder to national coaches ahead of the team’s T20 World Cup deadline of October 15.