Kolkata Knight Riders lauded Sunil Narine for his all-round show, which helped the side edge past Royal Challengers Bangalore by four wickets in IPL 2021 Eliminator in Sharjah on Monday. Narine returned with 4/21 with the ball, before making a decisive impact in the run-chase knocking 26 off 15.
Virat Kohli and Devdutt Padikkal had got Royal Challengers Bangalore off to a flying start, adding 49 in the first five overs after opting to bat. Padikkal dragged one onto his stumps off Lockie Ferguson, before Sunil Narine removed Srikar Bharat, Kohli, AB de Villers and Glenn Maxwell in an outstanding spell.
He turned it on with the bat too, striking Daniel Christian for three sixes in the 12th over during Kolkata Knight Riders’ run-chase of 139, after being sent in as a pinch-hitter at No.5.
Eoin Morgan lauded the West Indies stalwart, and reflected on leading an attack comprising two more world-class spinners in Shakib Al Hasan and Varun Chakravarthy.
"Narine makes it look very easy. He bowled outstandingly well,” said Morgan after the win. “Throughout the innings, we continued to take wickets. Good start from the bowlers, and we were in control in the chase. I quite like it (having three spinners around). It is a huge privilege when there are world-class spinners around. They continue to get better and better. When it comes off (with the batting order), it looks quite deep.
“(On advantage to play in Sharjah against DC in Qualifier 2) For us, it is a matter of coming back and adjusting. We are looking forward to it. I thought we had a chance when we landed in the UAE, but the cricket we have played has surprised everybody. Everyone came with a drive to perform.
“Narine is a cool customer and is very level-headed. He's a true legend of T20 cricket and we're delighted to have him."
Narine, who was a part of KKR’s IPL winning team of 2014, was extremely pleased with a match-defining effort
"Definitely [one of my greatest T20 performances]. When you perform, and the team comes out winning is always good,” said Narine as he received his Player of the Match award.
“I am prepared to be out first ball. Some days it comes off, some days it doesn't. I enjoy all wickets, but getting Kohli and tying them was my goal. It was a total team effort. (On doubts with the new action) I am getting close - not that close as yet like before - and the hard work has paid off. I am pretty calm and cool when it comes to cricket. I like funny stuff as well."
The Knight Riders will play Delhi Capitals in Qualifier 2 at the same venue on Wednesday, and the winner will meet Chennai Super Kings in the IPL 2021 final in Dubai on Friday.