Sunil Narine’s all-round brilliance played a pivotal role in KKR’s win over RCB on Monday.© Twitter
Kolkata Knight Riders’ Sunil Narine turned back the clock on Monday as he produced a great spell of spin bowling at Sharjah to put the brakes on Royal Challengers Bangalore’s innings in the crucial Eliminator clash. Narine dealt a huge blow to RCB as he removed captain Virat Kohli, who was looking good to anchor the innings. He then produced some great deliveries to knock over AB de Villiers, and the in-form duo of KS Bharat and Glenn Maxwell as RCB collapsed from 49 for no loss to 138/7 in their allotted 20 overs. Narine ended with figures of 4/21 from his four overs and played a quickfire cameo of 26 runs to power KKR into Qualifier 2.
Narine’s bowling in the UAE leg has been a revelation so far. He has brought back the variations in his bowling which have left batsmen completely bamboozled. One man who knows all about Narine’s ability is former KKR Gautam Gambhir. Gambhir had captained KKR to title wins in 2012 and 2014 and Narine had played a huge part in both these seasons. The West Indian had picked 24 wickets in 2012 and finished with a tally of 21 in 2014.
Talking about his impact in the match against RCB on ESPNCricinfo’s show T20 Time Out, Gambhir spoke about the Caribbean spinner’s quality over the years and his ability to deceive the best batsmen in the business.
“The strange thing is that everyone associates the word ‘mystery’ with Sunil Narine but no one uses the word quality. If it was just mystery, then it would have been solved in so many years of him playing cricket,” Gambhir said.
“Players like Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers and Glenn Maxwell try and play him the same way even now like they have done for so many years. The fact that they still can’t pick him shows Narine’s quality and also tells you that Narine can get rid of top-quality batsmen even now,” he added.
Narine has so far picked 14 wickets this season, which is second only to Varun Chakravarthy in the list of highest wicket-takers for KKR in IPL 2021.
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