Narine, Russell deliver big as KKR steal nail-biter
KOLKATA, India (CMC):
Champion off-spinner Sunil Narine made a timely return to his brilliant best, combining with his equally superb West Indies teammate AndrÈ Russell to propel Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) to a nail-biting one-wicket victory over Kings XI Punjab with one ball to spare here yesterday.
Playing at Eden Gardens, Kings XI stormed to 183 for five off their 20 overs, with the embattled Narine grabbing four for 19 from his four overs.
In turmoil at 83 for four in the 11th over, KKR were blasted out of trouble by Russell, who top-scored with 51 off 21 deliveries, to earn the Man-of-the-Match honour.
The victory lifted KKR to the top of the Indian Premier League (IPL) standings with 15 points, one clear of Chennai Super Kings.
More important, the game confirmed the return to form of Narine, who has struggled for effectiveness with a remodelled action after being thrice reported for having an illegal bowling action.
In fact, he was only on Thursday cleared by the IPL and celebrated by producing a brilliant spell on Saturday.
Opting to bat first, Kings XI were led by Australian Glenn Maxwell's top score of 43 from 22 balls; opener Manan Vohra - 39 from 34 deliveries, and Wriddhiman Saha's 33 from 25 balls.
In reply, KKR were slumping to victory until Russell arrived to play a blinder, smashing five fours and four sixes to put them back on course.
The right-handed Russell took 16 runs from seamer Anureet Singh's second over, the 13th of the innings, combined with Yusuf Pathan (29) to plunder 24 runs from left-arm spinner Axar Patel's third over before single-handedly taking 19 from another Anureet over.
He added 53 for the fifth wicket with Pathan before falling in the 17th over, caught at the wicket off Axar.