Narine finds form to put KKR over Royals

KKR all-rounder Sunil Narine.

JAIPUR, India,  CMC – Sunil Narine fired with the bat for the first time this season as Kolkata Knight Riders extended their fine run with a dominant eight-wicket win over Barbadian Jofra Archer’s Rajasthan Royals here yesterday.

Chasing an insufficient 140 at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium, KKR overhauled their target with 37 balls to spare to move to the top of the Indian Premier League standings with eight points from four wins.

Narine, known more for his mesmerising off-spin but thrust into a more all-round role in recent seasons, was at the forefront of the run chase with a typically rapid 47 off 25 deliveries. The left-hander belted six fours and three sixes – mostly clean leg-side strikes – in a 91-run opening stand off 51 deliveries with Australian Chris Lynn who top-scored with 50 from 32 deliveries, including six fours and three sixes.

Narine was eyeing a well-deserved half-century when he was first to fall in the ninth over, caught at slip by Australian Steve Smith off leg-spinner Shreyas Gopal (2-35).

Robin Uthappa arrived to stroke a 16-ball unbeaten 26 to see KKR over the line.

Earlier, Smith had top-scored with a responsible 73 off 59 balls but it was only good enough to see the hosts up to 139 for three off their 20 overs.

Smith hammered seven fours and a six, dominating a 72-run, second wicket stand with England’s Jos Buttler (37) before putting on a further 28 for the third wicket with Rahul Triphathi (6).

Narine went wicket-less but proved economical, conceding only 22 runs from his four overs.

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