Kolkata Knight Riders opener Sunil Narine joined teammate Yusuf Pathan on the fastest Indian Premier League half-century record list on Sunday. Narine reached the half century mark off 15 deliveries against Royal Challengers Bangalore at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium. His knock was dotted with six fours and four sixes. Pathan’s knock had come in 2014, also off 15 deliveries, against Sunrisers Hyderabad. Giving the West Indies opener company was Chris Lynn, who smashed his second fifty of the season.
Narine has been the secret of Kolkata’s success this IPL. Captain Gautam Gambhir’s ingenuity of promoting the spinner as an opener has paid off for the twice-IPL champions. When he walked in with Gambhir against Kings XI Punjab in Kolkata’s first home match, their opponents were caught unaware. The surprise worked and he hammered 37 off 18 balls. He was back again as an opener against Gujarat Lions after being demoted for one game and his 42 off 15 gave Kolkata the perfect start to win the game.
On Sunday, Narine and Lynn made a mockery of the Bangalore bowlers as they took them to the cleaners. The West Indian also broke the record of Lynn who scored 50 in 19 balls against Gujarat Lions this season.
Narine was finally caught by Kedar Jadhav off an Aniket Choudhury delivery and he departed for 54. Lynn also departed for 50, bowled by Pawan Negi. However, their efforts were enough for Kolkata as they defeated Bangalore by 6 wickets. It also sealed a Play-off berth for Kolkata.
“I haven’t seen such a partnership. Unbelievable effort. You don’t expect people to get 105 in 6 overs… It was a team decision to send Narine up the order because he would hardly bat at No. 6 or No. 7. We also though it would make it easy on Lynn to take his time at the other end on his return,” said Gautam Gambhir after the match.
Narine himself was surprised with his knock. “I’m surprised too. Lynn just said keep your eyes on the ball… I try to keep it simple. I’ll hopefully get used to the expectations but it really was a team effort,” he said.