Narine Stars As KKR Storm Into Qualifier 2 To Book Berth Against DC

Cricket News By TODAYLIVESCORE.INFO - Narine stars as KKR storm into Qualifier 2 to book berth against DC. Narine returned 4-21 which played an important part in restricting RCB to 138.

Narine Stars As KKR Storm Into Qualifier 2 To Book Berth Against DCNarine returned 4-21 which played an important part in restricting RCB to 138.

In a nutshell

It wasn't quite the fairytale finish to Virat Kohli's captaincy in the IPL as Kolkata Knight Riders stormed into Qualifier 2 with a four-wicket win over Royal Challengers Bangalore, riding on an all-round show by their star player Sunil Narine. The 33-year-old's 4 for 21 was instrumental in restricting RCB to 139/6 before he lifted KKR from a similar stagnancy in the middle overs with three sixes off the first three legal deliveries he faced. And in the process, he also became the first player to score 25+ runs and take four or more wickets in a playoff game.

How Narine made a difference

As if his best-ever figures in a playoff match wasn't enough, Narine studded those bowling figures with the wickets of Kohli, de Villiers and Maxwell, and in that order. With the bat, Narine made complete sense of his promotion to No. 5, picking 22 runs in the 12th over bowled by Dan Christian and turned the run-chase around on a pitch that was slowing down by the minute. With less than run-a-ball required from thereon, it was a straightforward chase for KKR who got past the line with a couple of balls to spare.

A story of similar powerplays

There wasn't much to tell apart KKR from RCB after the end of six overs. With the pitch at its best, both teams hit a flurry of boundaries en route to a power start. RCB finished with 53 runs for the loss of Devdutt Padikkal whereas KKR added 48 runs for the loss of Shubman Gill. It was a bit different while bowling though. While Morgan snuck in a couple of overs from spin in the powerplay, Kohli went with all pace overs and brought on Yuzvendra Chahal's spin as soon as the field was spread.

So what made the difference?

How both teams approached the middle overs. It was slow going for both the teams after the powerplay but while KKR hit their way out of trouble, thanks to Narine and his surprise promotion, RCB caved in, losing a flurry of wickets in the process.

KKR had scored only 13 runs in overs 7-9 but Nitish Rana connected a couple of reverse-sixes off Glenn Maxwell in the 10th over and relieved some of the pressure. Narine then walked in the 12th over and dispatched the first ball he faced for a six. The next two legal deliveries flew away for sixes too and that was probably the game for KKR.

RCB, in contrast, added only 17 runs in overs 7-10, their scoreline aptly reflecting the struggles of the team captain. Kohli, who scored 24* off 16 in the powerplay, could add only 15 off his next 17 balls. Narine took over with the ball from then on.

Tell me more about Narine's bowling

It was unusual for Narine to not bowl in the powerplay but Morgan was holding him back for better things. Called upon to bowl only in the 10th over of the innings, Narine laid into the pressure created by Shakib Al Hasan and Varun Chakaravarthy and immediately got rid of Bharat. He was then brought on to bowl three back-to-back overs from the other end and he struck in each of those, getting rid of RCB's three most important batsmen in a matter of minutes.

Kohli was bowled when he tried to slog an offbreak while de Villiers was bowled by one owing to lack of footwork. The most telling blow though was that of Maxwell, the last of RCB's hope but he was undone trying to slog the carrom ball.

How did it get so close in the end?

Nitish Rana didn't have to go for the big hits but he did against Yuzvendra Chahal in the 15th over and lost KKR a crucial wicket. Harshal Patel (4-0-19-2) weaved his slower balls around that opening, getting level with Dwayne Bravo's 32-wicket record season tally, before Mohammed Siraj came on to bowl the 18th and picked two wickets in the over. It took Shakib's well-thought-out scoop over fine leg in the 20th over to get KKR over the line.

Brief Scores: RCB138/7 in 20 overs (Kohli 39; Narine 4-21) lost to KKR 139/6 in 19.4 overs Gill 29, Narine 26; Chahal 2-16, Siraj 2-19) by 4 wickets

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