IPL 2021: Sunil Narine’s all-round show sends Kolkata into Qualifier 2

Sharjah: A match-defining all-round show from Sunil Narine helped Kolkata Knight Riders set up a Qualifier 2 clash with Delhi Capitals after beating Royal Challengers Bangalore by four wickets in a tight Eliminator match of IPL 2021 at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium here on Monday.

Narine first took 4/21 in his four overs, breaking the back of Bangalore’s batting. With the bat, Narine slammed his first three balls for three sixes to effectively kill the chase, which Kolkata completed with two balls to spare. Kolkata delivering Bangalore a knockout punch also brought an end to Virat Kohli’s stint as a captain in the IPL.

Chasing 139, Shubman Gill started off with a flick through square leg of Mohammed Siraj. In the next over, Venkatesh Iyer joined the party, pulling George Garton over backward square leg. Gill then tore into Garton in the third over with a hat-trick of boundaries. Harshal Patel, introduced in the final over of power-play, made the first strike for Bangalore as Gill was foxed by an off-cutter and holed to mid-on moving to his right.

Post power-play, Kolkata lost another wicket as Rahul Tripathi was struck plumb on the front pad by a Yuzvendra Chahal googly. Nitish Rana broke the shackles with reverse hits going for a six and four each off Glenn Maxwell in the tenth over, which also saw a running Shahbaz Ahmed spilling a catch of Iyer. But in the next over, Patel took out Iyer, gloving behind to keeper KS Bharat.

Sunil Narine’s promotion to five paid off as he slammed three sixes off Daniel Christian over fine leg, square leg and long-off in the 12th over to simplify the equation. Chahal had his second wicket of the match in the 15th over as Nitish Rana mistimed slog-sweep to long-on. Narine had luck on his side as Devdutt Padikkal dropped the catch off Harshal Patel in the 17th over.

In the next over, Mohammed Siraj dismissed both Narine and Dinesh Karthik. With seven needed off the final over, Shakib Al Hasan walked across for a scoop over short fine leg off Christian before finishing off the chase with a quick single.

Earlier, Bangalore were off to a quick start with 53/1 in the power-play. Kohli got going with a sweep off Shakib Al Hasan before slamming Shivam Mavi for back-to-back fours in the next over. Padikkal took two boundaries off Lockie Ferguson in the fourth over. But the New Zealander had the last laugh in his second over as Padikkal chopped one to his stumps.

Post power-play, Kolkata squeezed the run flow as 17 runs came off the next four overs, including Bharat’s wicket, holing out to long-off off Narine. That began a batting slide for Bangalore as three overs later, Narine had his second wicket of the match with Kohli set himself for a slog-sweep, only to be bowled through the gate.

Narine struck with his third wicket in the 15th over, getting the ball to just turn in and going between bat and pad to disturb the stumps of AB de Villiers. In his final over, Narine took out his fourth wicket as Maxwell sliced a slog-sweep to short third man. Christian and Shahbaz Ahmed fell in the last two overs but Bangalore just managed to cross the 130-mark, which wasn’t sufficient to prevent their second straight eliminator loss in the IPL.

Brief scores:

Royal Challengers Bangalore 138/7 in 20 overs (Virat Kohli 39, Devdutt Padikkal 21, Sunil Narine 4/21, Lockie Ferguson 2/30) lost to Kolkata Knight Riders (Shubman Gill 29, Sunil Narine 26, Yuzvendra Chahal 2/16, Harshal Patel 2/19, Mohammed Siraj 2/19) by four wickets