IPL 2020: Knights pack a collective punch in big win over DC
IPL 2020: KKR thrashed DC by 59 runs on the back of half-centuries by Sunil Narine and Nitish Rana and later by spinner Varun Chakravarthy who floored the Capitals with his maiden five-wicket-haul, also the first of this year’s tournament.Updated: Oct 24, 2020, 21:32 IST
After the capitulation against Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) and having lost three of their last four games, Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) needed to make a statement on Saturday. They made four.
Nitish Rana (81; 53b; 4x13; 6x1) and Sunil Narine (64; 32b; 4x6; 6x4) made a point with the bat. Both have had a patchy season. If from 42/3 after 7.2 overs, their 115 run joint-venture snatched the initiative from Delhi Capitals (DC) it was because it came in 59 balls. Then Pat Cummins, who hadn’t lived up to his star billing so far, removed Ajinkya Rahane and Shikhar Dhawan with deliveries that showed why KKR invested Rs 15.50 crore in him. Varun Chakravarthy was also a mystery DC couldn’t unravel, the spinner getting 5/20 which is the best bowling performance in IPL13.
Also Read | Match Highlights, KKR vs DC
Chasing 195 to win, DC were 1/0 when Cummins trapped Rahane with the innings’ first ball which came in at pace after pitching. Having got his line and length right from the start, Cummins dismissed Dhawan by going around the wicket and getting the ball to straighten after pitching. If you have disturbed the furniture of a batsman who became the first in IPL history to hit successive hundreds when he is trying to defend, the ball has to be good. And good it certainly was from the big Australian quick who ended with 3/17 and bowled 16 dot balls.
When Chakravarthy removed Shimron Hetmeyer and skipper Shreyas Iyer in successive deliveries, DC’s reply went completely pear-shaped. The 59-run win not only helped KKR increase the gap between the top four and the rest but also bettered the nett run rate after three heavy defeats, against MI (2) and RCB.
It didn’t look that way at the start. Shubman Gill, Rahul Tripathi and Dinesh Karthik were out when Narine joined Rana who opened in this game. Surprisingly, Kagiso Rabada tempted Narine outside the off-stump instead of playing some chin music. Next over, the ninth, skipper Shreyas Iyer got R Ashwin. Moving the front leg, he lofted Ashwin for a six over long-on, KKR’s first of the match. Next ball fetched a four off an edge. The over yielded 13. “I back myself to play spin,” said Narine at the break.
The Knights soared from there with only the 13th and 16th overs yielding less than 10. The 10th over fetched 18 with Narine swinging two boundaries and Rana swivelling to pull Tushar Despande for six. The short ball has been his undoing and though DC didn’t really test him with one, Rana played the pull with aplomb --- his first two boundaries came from that shot. By the 11th over, Rana was picking the gaps, often after exposing his stumps. In the 12th over, he reverse-swept Ashwin for a boundary and scooped him over cover for four more with Narine hitting a leg-spinner for six sandwiched in between. For once, Iyer looked hapless.
There were some edges that fetched fours --- one such shot off Anrich Nortje took Rana to his half-century --- but there were good lofted drives and swings square of the wicket too. When Rana got to his 50 off 35 balls, Narine was on 33. When Narine got to his fourth IPL half-century, with a hoik that fell just in front of Daniel Sams in the deep, off Ashwin, it was off 22 balls and Rana had moved to 54 off 36. Soon, Narine was outscoring Rana for whom this was the second highest IPL score after his 85 against RCB last year.
Coach Brendon McCullum said Narine’s effort was “a majestic knock” from a man sidelined to remodel his bowling action again. “He has had a lot of adversity and overcome it on every occasion,” said McCullum in a flash interview after pointing out that Narine hadn’t done much batting of late. “It’s been a while. Happy to be back and performing,” said Narine.