Cometh the hour, cometh the man! Sunil Narine weaved magic with bat and ball as Kolkata beat Bangalore by four wickets and set up a clash with Delhi in the Indian T20 League Qualifier 2. The Caribbean all-rounder claimed a seventh four-wicket haul in the league and struck a match-winning 26 off 15 balls. It was a heartbreaking evening for the Bangalore faithful as the defeat meant that Virat Kohli’s reign as captain ended without a trophy.
Bangalore, who chose to bat first, made an excellent start on a track that has troubled the batsmen this season. Kohli was heading towards another Indian T20 League half-century. But Narine, who got the wicket of Srikar Bharat in his opening over, had other ideas. He cleaned up the Bangalore skipper for 39. Twelve balls later, Narine dismissed AB de Villiers too. The off-spinner completed his four-wicket haul after Glenn Maxwell holed out to Lockie Ferguson at short third man. Bangalore had to settle for 138/7 in their 20 overs.
Kolkata lost wickets in regular intervals during the run chase. With 60 needed from 54 balls, Eoin Morgan sent Narine ahead of himself, Dinesh Karthik, and Shakib Al Hasan. The pinch-hitter became the first player to hit three sixes off his first three legal deliveries in an Indian T20 League innings. Mohammed Siraj sent Narine and Karthik back to the dressing room in quick succession. But the experienced Shakib and Morgan steered the two-time winners to a victory with two balls to spare.
In both 2020 and 2021, RCB lost the eliminator with 2 balls remaining while defending a target in 130s.
Also an all-round performance from a West Indies cricketer in the winning team.
2020 – Jason Holder 3/25 & 24*(20)
2021 – Sunil Narine 4/21 & 26(15)#RCBvKKR
— Kausthub Gudipati (@kaustats) October 11, 2021
Narine stuns Bangalore
At 87/2 in 12 overs and with Kohli and Maxwell at the crease, Bangalore would have been aiming for a total close to 170. However, Morgan’s decision to bring back Narine for his second spell was a gamechanger. The 33-year-old, in his second delivery, clean bowled Kohli. He struck again in his next over, removing De Villiers for 11. The former South Africa skipper tried to defend the ball, but it went through the gate and crashed onto the stumps.
The in-form Maxwell succumbed to pressure and gave Narine his fourth wicket in the match. He could have had a five-for if Shubman Gill had held onto Shahbaz Ahmed’s catch. The Trinidadian, who picked up a wicket in each of his four overs, caused trouble for Bangalore again. He came to bat after the dismissal of Venkatesh Iyer and clobbered three sixes off Dan Christian’s first over. The asking rate went from 7.18 to 4.75. Narine’s quickfire knock made the job easy for Morgan and Shakib.
The 22-run over
The turning point in the run chase came in the 12th over. With Iyer back to the pavilion and the required rate over 7, Bangalore had a chance to put the pressure back on Kolkata. Narine, who hasn’t scored enough runs this season, was the new man at the crease. Kohli threw the ball to Christian. However, Narine hammered the ball over fine leg, deep midwicket, and long-off for three sixes. A total of 22 runs, including two extras, came off the over.
The joint highest wicket-taker
Harshal Patel was unlucky not to become the highest wicket-taker in an Indian T20 League season. In his last over, Padikkal dropped Narine at mid-on. The medium-pacer finished with 32 wickets, which is the highest by an Indian player in a season. Dwayne Bravo, too, has picked up 32 wickets in the 2013 edition. Harshal has taken a hat-trick, five-for, and a four-wicket haul this season.
Most wickets in an IPL season:
32 : Dwayne Bravo, 2013
32 : Harshal Patel, 2021*
30 : Kagiso Rabada, 2020/21
28 : Lasith Malinga, 2011
28 : James Faulkner, 2013#KKRvRCB
— Umang Pabari (@UPStatsman) October 11, 2021
Lockie ‘consistent’ Ferguson
Ferguson played a pivotal role in Kolkata’s victory. For the second game in a row, he grabbed a wicket in the powerplay. Bangalore had moved to 49/0 in the opening five overs. Ferguson, who gave away 12 runs in his first six balls, grabbed the wicket of Padikkal. He dismissed Shahbaz in the death overs to take his tally to 12 in six matches at an excellent economy of 6.45.
Another fine outing
Yuzvendra Chahal, who is not part of the World Cup squad, produced yet another impressive performance in the UAE leg. The spinner trapped Rahul Tripathi in front of the stumps and took the wicket of Nitish Rana to give a slight hope for his side. He and Kolkata’s Varun Chakravarthy, who finished with figures of 0/20 in his four overs, didn’t concede a four or a six in the match.
Bangalore 138/7 in 20 overs (V Kohli 39; S Narine 4/21, L Ferguson 2/30)
Kolkata 139/6 in 19.4 overs (S Gill 29; Y Chahal 2/16, M Siraj 2/19, H Patel 2/19)
— PaytmFirstGames (@PaytmFirstGames) October 12, 2021