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AN EXHILARATING DISPLAY | IPL 2024: Sunil Narine's 49-ball ton helps KKR post 223/6 against Rajasthan Royals

IANS | Updated on Wednesday, April 17, 2024 10:34 AM IST
IPL 2024: Sunil Narine's 49-ball ton helps KKR post 223/6 against Rajasthan Royals

KOLKATA: West Indies all-rounder Sunil Narine put up an exhilarating display of power-hitting, hammering his maiden century in T20 cricket as he helped Kolkata Knight Riders post in Match 31 of Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024 at the Eden Gardens here on Tuesday.

Asked to bat first by Rajasthan Royals, Narine blasted his highest score in the shortest format of the game as he raced to his century off 49 balls, becoming only the third KKR batter to score a century in IPL and the first home batter to score a hundred at the Eden Gardens in IPL. Narine has been restored to opening the innings after a long time this season and delivered on Tuesday with a sensational innings. Narine used his trademark stand-and-hit style of batting as he muscled the bowlers to the boundary to eventually score 109 off 56 balls, studded with 13 boundaries and six maximums.

KKR got off to a good start despite losing Phil Salt early as they raced to 56/1 in the Power-play thanks mainly to West Indies dasher Sunil Narine and young Angkrish Raghuvanshi, who was promoted in the order.

Salt failed to make the most of the life he got in the opening over when Riyan Parag put down a sitter at point off Trent Boult. Salt was yet to open his account but could manage only 10 runs off 13 balls, including a boundary off Boult before Avesh Khan plucked a one-handed stunner low to his left in his follow-through.

Sunil Narine saved KKR the blushes as he hammered a half-century to give the team a good start. The West Indies left-hander found a good partner in Angkrish Raghuvanshi, who was promoted to the No.3 position and made it count with an 18-ball 30. Narine was his usual self, going after the bowling, hitting the square of the wicket and not afraid to give it air and clear the rope. After two fine fours off Avesh Khan, the left-hander planted Kuldeep Sen into the stands with a pull that went high into the sky and followed it up with a stylish boundary in the sixth over.

Ravichandran Ashwin was hit for back-to-back boundaries through cover and point region in the eighth over while Yuzvendra Chahal was smoked over long-off for a big six. In the ninth over, Narine ramped Ashwin over long-off to complete his fifty off 29 balls, hitting five boundaries and three maximums. KKR reached 101/1 at the halfway stage.

But they lost a couple of wickets in quick succession, Raghuvanshi returning to the dugout after adding 85 runs for the second-wicket partnership with Narine. Raghuvanshi, who hammered Boult for three well-timed and well-executed boundaries in the fifth over also benefitted when Riyan Parag misfielded in the long-on region. The 18-year-old Delhi-born batter, who plays for Mumbai at the domestic level, was pure timing and technique and not just power as he scored 30 off 18.

From 106/2, KKR slumped to 133/3 as skipper Shreyas Iyer was trapped LBW by Chahal. But the setbacks did not matter much for Sunil Narine as the West Indies allrounder continued with his power-hitting, hammering shots around the ground as he raced to his century.

Narine blasted Ashwin for a four and six off back-to-back deliveries in the 12th over despite the off-spinner trying to bowl wide. Chahal, RR's other spinner, Chahal was hammered for 23 runs in the 16th over, hitting him for two sixes and two fours off successive deliveries as he danced down the track to blast a leg-break over long-off and followed it up with a boundary straight over the bowler's head.

A wide ball later, a poor delivery by Chahal was hit flat for a six and followed up by a four again, pulled to the midwicket boundary, as Narine raced to his maiden century off 49 balls. This is only the third century by a KKR batter and the first by a home batter at the Eden Gardens in 84 matches. He and his compatriot Andre Russell added 51 runs for the fourth wicket off 18 balls as KKR prospered in the middle overs. Russel was out for 13, caught by Dhruv Jurel off the first ball as Avesh Khan came back into attack.

Boult ended Narine's masterpiece for 109 off 56 balls, studded with 13 boundaries and six maximums. Boult cleaned him up with a fine yorker but Narine had done the damage by that time, helping KKR reach 195/5 in the 19th over.

Rinku Singh (20 off 9 balls) blasted a couple of lusty hits as KKR reached 223/6 in 20 overs, giving the two-time champions a defendable total.

Avesh Khan was the best bowler for Rajasthan with 2-35 while Trent Boult was miserly at 1-31 in his four overs. Yuzvendra Chahal was hammered for 1-54 off his four overs, Narin doing most of the damage by slogging him for 23 runs in one over.

Brief scores:

Kolkata Knight Riders 223/6 in 20 overs (Sunil Narine 109, Angkrish Raghuvanshi 30; Avesh Khan 2-35, Trent Boult 1-31) against Rajasthan Royals.

 

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