Friday, February 23, 2018

Superb Narine

...cripples RCB as Gayle fails again


SPIN WIZARD: Kolkata Knight Riders spinner Sunil Narine celebrates after taking a wicket during the Indian Premier League match against Royal Challengers Bangalore at Eden Gardens, Kolkata yesterday. Narine grabbed four wickets for 20 runs as Kolkata won by 30 runs. —Photo courtesy BCCI

Mark Fraser

 \\\\\ KOLKATA

Trinidad and Tobago off-spinner Sunil Narine was superb but his West Indies teammate Chris Gayle proved ordinary, as Kolkata Knight Riders produced a clinical all-round performance to surge to a convincing 30-run victory over Royal Challengers Bangalore and into the playoffs of the Indian Premier League (IPL) here yesterday.

Sent in at historic Eden Gardens, Kolkata piled up 195 for four from their 20 overs, with opener Robin Uthappa pummelling 83 from 51 balls and Bangladeshi Shakib Al Hasan 60 from 38 deliveries with five fours and three sixes.

In reply, RCB lost Gayle in the second over for just six and then failed to find the momentum to mount a proper run chase, ending on 165 for five.

Narine was the main destroyer, finishing with four for 20 from his four overs, and removing key batsmen at critical times.

The aggressive, left-handed Gayle faced nine deliveries and struck one four--a whip through square off seamer Umesh Yadav–but was trapped on his crease off the very next ball to fall lbw.

Gayle has scored 196 runs from nine innings at an average of 21, and a highest score of 46. He scored just 14 in his last outing on Tuesday against Sunrisers. Wicketkeeper Yogesh Takawale top-scored with 45 and captain Virat Kohli got 38, adding 85 for the second wicket and threatening to rescue the innings.

However, Narine removed both in the 13th over–his third of the innings.

 Yuvraj Singh took all his 22 runs from Yadav’s third over–the 16th of the innings–before Narine also took care of that threat.

Left-handed Yuvraj holed out to long on off the wily Trinidadian off the second ball of the next over and dangerous South African batsman AB de Villiers fell to the final delivery of the over, missing a sweep and being bowled off-stump for 13.

Narine’s double blow put the seal on the game for KKR, with the victory lifting them to third in the standings but level on points with second placed Chennai Super Kings on 16 points.

RCB are one from bottom on ten points and have been eliminated from playoff contention. —CMC