Sunil Narine smashed the joint-fastest fifty in IPL history as the Kolkata Knight Riders went one step closer to the playoffs.
It was another record-breaking clash between the Kolkata Knight Riders and the Royal Challengers Bangalore, and it was once again the Royal Challengers to feel the full force of KKR’s all-round abilities. After posting the lowest-ever IPL total (49) in the reverse fixture, RCB conceded the most Powerplay runs in IPL history in Sunday’s clash, while allowing makeshift opener Narine to score the joint-quickest fifty.
An incredible 106 runs were scored in the Powerplay overs, which meant that after just six overs of KKR’s innings, the game was secured. In the end it was a six-wicket victory, and it’s all but wrapped up a playoff spot for Gautam Gambhir’s side, as they sit two points off leaders the Mumbai Indians with two matches remaining. Viral Kohli’s RCB remain rooted at the bottom, with 10 defeats from their 13 matches.
The usually powerful and world-class trio of Chris Gayle, Kohli and AB de Villiers went missing as they have done throughout the campaign. They produced their worst-ever combined total, with 15 runs coming off their bat, as Mandeep Singh and Travis Head were left to rescue their side with fifties.
RCB were sent into bat on their own turf, and were reeling on 34-3. Gayle, in his 100th IPL match, made it back-to-back ducks, while Kohli scored five. Umesh Yadav (3-36) accounted for both players, before De Villiers departed for 10.
Marine saw the end of De Villiers, and then he saw off Mandeep to finish with figures of 2-29; this, after a 71-run stand between Mandeep and Head. Head was on fire, and ended up scoring 27 off the last nine balls to carry RCB to 158-6. Head scored five sixes and three fours to finish on 75 off 47.
The response from the visitors was the most brutal in IPL history. Chris Lynne returned to the side after dislocating his shoulder in the second match, and let rip with Narine. Australian Lynn set the tone with two fours and a six off the first over. By the end of the third over, he’d already struck two sixes and four fours.
That’s when Narine got involved. He smacked his compatriot Samuel Badree for 22 off the first four balls of his spell. In the space of 11 balls, Narine went from five to 50. He punished Sreentah Aravind for 26 runs off his only over, and completed his first ever T20 fifty off just 15 balls, equalling teammate Yusuf Pathan’s efforts in the 2014 edition.
Lynn scored a fifty himself and it came off only 22 balls, with the pair smacking eight sixes between them. Narine fell for 54 off 17 balls and Lynn followed after bringing up his fifty, but it was a simple task for the rest of the batsmen. Colin de Grandhomme finished off with 31 off 28, for KKR to secure their eighth victory of the campaign with 4.5 overs remaining.
Photo: Prashant Bhoot/Cricinfo/IPL