IPL 2021: Narine's all-round brilliance helps KKR beat Delhi

Filed on September 28, 2021
Sunil Narine of Kolkata Knight Riders plays a shot during the match against Delhi Capitals. (BCCI)

Earlier, Kolkata Knight Riders bowlers put on a clinical show to restrict Delhi Capitals to 127/9

Delhi Capitals were delayed from claiming a playoff berth in the Indian Premier League (IPL) after losing to Kolkata Knight Riders by three wickets on Tuesday.

Delhi could have advanced with a win, and remained second overall. Kolkata were fourth after a third win in their last four games. Both teams still have three games remaining.

Kolkata skipper Eoin Morgan read the slow pitch well after winning the toss and Delhi were restricted to 127-9. Spinners Sunil Narine (2-18) and Venkatesh Iyer (2-29) led the attack.

Kolkata won by reaching 130-7 in 18.2 overs. Nitish Rana made an unbeaten 37 off 27 balls, but it was the lower order which starred, especially Sunil Narine, who took 21 runs from one Kagiso Rabada over.

“Winning the toss and fielding is not an easy thing to do, (but) the guys were more calculated today and it came off,” Morgan said. “Full credit has to go to our coach Brendon McCullum. It’s his ethos, his mindset, and the boys have bought into that.”

Young Delhi fast bowler Avesh Khan continued a dream IPL debut by taking 3-13 and raising his wickets tally to 18.

Ravichandran Ashwin got the key wicket of Morgan without scoring, and when Dinesh Karthik played onto Khan in the 15th over, Kolkata slipped to 96-5.

But Narine smashed two sixes and a four against Rabada in the next over and ripped the game from Delhi’s grasp.

Narine said he had been working hard on his batting.

“Batting in the middle-order is challenging. It’s pleasing to see hardwork paying off after a long time,” said the West Indies all-rounder who also took two wickets.

“Watching a few games here, knew there’s a bit of spin here. Didn’t want to get too full. I’ve been through a lot. Need to give credit to bowling coach, that’s a plus and that’s been key for me to come back.”

Tournament top run-scorer Shikhar Dhawan hit five crisp boundaries among 24 runs for Delhi before falling to Lockie Ferguson at point in the batting powerplay.

Steve Smith returned to the side but laboured for 34 deliveries in scoring 39 before he was clean bowled by Ferguson.

Rishabh Pant also struggled to accelerate, hitting just three boundaries in his 36-ball 39 as Narine and Iyer strangled Delhi with their spin.

“I think we were 10 short, not much. We knew wicket would slow down in the second innings. But every team is trying to win the match. We want to give 100% and if it doesn’t go our way we will learn and move on,” Pant said.

“Batting was pretty difficult for new batters. We wanted to capitalise in the end with the bat, but we lost wickets and ended up 10 short.”

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