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Turning Point: Narine's assault flattens Delhi

By HARISH KOTIAN
October 25, 2020 09:11 IST
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Sunil Narine

IMAGE: Sunil Narine hits out during the IPL game against the Delhi Capitals. Photograph: BCCI/IPL
 

Sunil Narine endured a tough couple of weeks after fresh doubts over his bowling action emerged yet again in the ongoing IPL, but to his and Kolkata Knight Riders's relief, the West Indian spinner was cleared to bowl after review of his action.

The course of events that followed saw Narine miss four games, out of which KKR lost three, while they managed one narrow win -- in the Super Over against Sunrisers Hyderabad.

And, not surprisingly, when he came back into the team for the match against Delhi Capitals, Narine showed what KKR had been missing all this while.

Theleft-hander did the star turn with the bat on Saturday, smashing his way to an entertaining 64 from 32 balls, with four sixes and six fours, to rally the Knight Riders after a few early wickets.

Sent in at No 5, Narine walked out to the middle with KKR struggling on 42/3 in the eighth over.

He showed great intent right from the start as he targeted Delhi's No 1 spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, hitting him for a six and four in his first over.

That looked like the injection that KKR were missing till that point as Narine along with Nitish Rana launched a stunning counter-attack to open the floodgates.

Tushar Deshpande was slapped through point for a four by Narine in the next over. Nitish Rana, who was batting on 17 from 20 balls, also took a cue from Narine's book as he swung Deshpande for a six over midwicket before his partner hit the last ball for another boundary over point, to get 18 from the over.

Ashwin kept suffering at the hands of Narine, who pulled a short ball over midwicket for a six, while Rana hit the senior off-spinner for a couple of boundaries in the same over as KKR went past 100 in the 12th over.

Narine took a liking to Marcus Stoinis's medium pace as he pulled him for a six over square leg and a boundary through the covers, with Rana hitting another four off the last ball of the over.

Ashwin looked short of ideas against Narine's assault as he suffered at his hands for the third over in a row. A wide delivery was blasted through the covers before he lofted a flighted delivery wide of long-on for a six, as Ashwin suffered with the ball, giving away 45 runs in three overs.

Narine had raced to his fifty from just 24 balls, leaving Delhi Capitals shell-shocked by his uninhibited strokeplay. He perished in the 17th over, caught at deep square leg off Kagiso Rabada after smashing 64 from 32 balls, having put on 115 runs from just 56 balls for the fourth wicket with Rana.

Rana top-scored with 81 from 53 balls, but it was only due to Narine's blazing knock that he got the liberty to take his time to get settled and he made most by going on the attack in the death overs and lift KKR to a huge 194/6 in their 20 overs, before they shot out Delhi for 135/9 to register a comprehensive 59 run victory.

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HARISH KOTIAN / Rediff.com
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