Royal Challengers Bangalore v Kolkata Knight Riders, IPL 2017, Bengaluru May 7, 2017

Narine demolishes RCB with fastest IPL fifty


Kolkata Knight Riders 158 for 4 (Narine 54, Lynn 50) beat Royal Challengers Bangalore 158 for 6 (Head 75*, Mandeep 52, Umesh 2-36) by six wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Sunil Narine was just showing off on Sunday © BCCI

Facing up against Kolkata Knight Riders can be a frightening prospect and Sunil Narine has contributed to that image immensely. But, even as his bowling was being worked out, he has found a new way to send shivers down the opposition's spine. He has, get this, fashioned himself into an opening batsman and has had such freakish success that he now holds the record for the fastest fifty (15 balls) in IPL history.

On the back of that breathtaking innings, and Chris Lynn's 50 off 22 on return from injury, Knight Riders recorded the highest score in the Powerplay - 105 runs in 36 balls. The target of 159 never even stood a chance.


Virat Kohli, Chris Gayle and AB de Villiers recorded their lowest aggregate in a match (15) two weeks ago. They matched it on Sunday. Knight Riders were the bowling team both times. At Eden Gardens, they exploited a pitch that offered pace, bounce and movement. In Bengaluru, they adapted to a slow and dry pitch.

Gayle fell for a golden duck in his 100th IPL match, undone by a back-of-a-length delivery from Umesh Yadav that stopped on him. Kohli slogged across the line to a legcutter and was lbw a ball after he was dropped. De Villiers was bowled sweeping a knuckle ball from Narine. His average against spin this season has been 13.75.

The huffing and puffing

Considering the men with the most firepower were cooling off in the dressing room, Mandeep Singh and Travis Head were left to do three jobs at the same time. Remedy the slide at the top, lay a foundation through the middle and lead the charge at the end. One man hadn't scored a fifty since May 2015. The other had never scored one in the IPL. But they showed nuances far beyond those numbers in putting on 71 runs in 63 balls. Forty-nine of those runs came the hard way - by sprinting between the wickets, by doing what their more established colleagues needed to do, and failed.

Having defied the team that had claimed the most wickets between the seventh and 14th overs, this year, Head turned his attention to doing what he is best known for: six-hitting. He has T20 centuries in the BBL. He is a crowd favourite at the Adelaide Oval. And his 75 off 47 balls enabled Royal Challengers to snag 43 runs in the last three overs.

Kolkata Knight Riders broke the record for most runs in a Twenty20 Powerplay © ESPNcricinfo Ltd


Full tosses. Length balls. Wide balls. Knight Riders batsmen were supplied with a veritable buffet and Narine dined out in style. He began with a hat-trick of sixes - picking the googly from Samuel Badree twice and belting them both over long-off. The next one that went out of the park brought up his fifty as he equalled Yusuf Pathan's record. There were 19 boundaries in the Powerplay. That's a four or six every 1.89 deliveries. Royal Challengers, in their entire innings, managed only 17.

There were perhaps some mitigating factors the bowlers could hide behind. Twenty minutes of rain could conceivably have helped the pitch become better for strokeplay. But it certainly wasn't to blame for two of the biggest power-hitters in the tournament being fed ball after ball after ball to leverage over the top with only two men allowed outside the circle.

Lynn loves bowling of this variety. His captain at Brisbane Heat, Brendon McCullum, had warned bowlers not to let him unleash his "baseball-like swing". But nobody seemed to be listening, which meant a batsman coming back from a shoulder injury got to smash five fours and four sixes. Lynn's return added significant power to the KKR line-up, and they strengthened their chances of finishing in the top two by moving into second place with two games to go.

Alagappan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Garry on May 10, 2017, 2:01 GMT

    Any chance Narine could immigrate to India, he is looking twice the batsman Kholi is :) It is rubbish bowling but 50 off 15 is impressive whatever level it happens.

  • praveen on May 9, 2017, 19:30 GMT

    What a shame .. he wont play for national team but performs well for franchises

  •   Karthik Eyan on May 9, 2017, 13:39 GMT

    I would rate Narine much higher than the inconsistent sakib. add to the fact narine has performed among the best in IPL, whereas sakib has only performed against Zim,WI and kenya

  • kaamAd0086832 on May 8, 2017, 14:33 GMT

    @ HERATH-UK when 14 were required off last over Sunil Narine made the match by smashing first and second ball for consecutive Fours. Off course WI lost when he failed to connect next 3 balls. His score 9 runs from 7 balls. His run rate 128.5 was second only to holder (Samuels, Polard & Brathwaite all playing). What else you expect from a number 9 batsman.

  • simonp3164620 on May 8, 2017, 13:34 GMT

    With all the talks about how Narine's florish is only due to huge bat, small field etc etc blah blah blah, I wonder what the naysayers will say about the performance of the likes of Gayle, ABD, Guptill etc.

    Were they denied these super bats? Or was the boundary doubled while these were batting? If making runs is only due to bats and short boundaries, I wonder why these so-called 'proper cricketers' and 'Universal Bosses' fail miserably and consistently throughout the tournament. :P

  • Will on May 8, 2017, 13:13 GMT

    Narine sums up the best and worst about the IPL. Exciting stuff especially when you see a batting amateur smashing experienced bowlers back over their head but it's not great when mistimed slogs go for six, repeatedly. A commentator was quickly shushed the other day when he said it was all about the bats and the short boundaries. No, no he was told - it's all about better fitness and skill. In Narine's case I beg to differ.

  • simonp3164620 on May 8, 2017, 12:45 GMT

    I dont understand all the negative comments about Narine. Who cares what his technique is? Who cares if he will flourish in international arena or not. He has never claimed to be a batsman. He is a beauty to watch when he plays and he did his work for KKR, thats all that matters in the end. We have seen all these so called 'Universal Boss'es and '360 degree players' who work so hard 'not to look stupid' play. The pitch was not good for batting (evident from all batsmen of both sides except Narine, Lynn and Head) which makes his innings even more special.

    I would rather have a 'lucky, unorthodox,hit-and-miss, not a batsman'' 15 ball 50 from Narine than a 'super cool, unlucky, superb technique, proper batsman' 1 ball 0 from Gayle any given day.

  • Nadir on May 8, 2017, 12:45 GMT

    What about Sarfaraz Khan, he was with RCB, no? If kohli and gayle are not clicking top of the order why not come down the order. Anyways kohli plays at no 3, just like Narine reinvented hinself as opener. Maybe gayle could have done the same at no 3 or 4. Infact kohli at 3, gayle at 4. ABD at 5, with some level headed openers (Watson?) and that line up does not look too bad. Teams would be confused which bowlers to use up top since they know of the carnage that can happen later. Thats the part of innovation that RCB had been missing

  • wolaja8816103 on May 8, 2017, 12:13 GMT

    @FROSTD The better batsman are not going after every ball because they will look stupid if they get out and the coach and captain will give them stick. Narine can because he is pinch hitter , that's his role , go after each ball and by doing so if he gets out he does nt look bad . The point is not to give credit to narine but whether he can be successful at international stage?? he seems to struggle with better bowling in IPL itself , is it a issue no because he is a pinch hitter and he plays for WI ( team of power hitters) in T20s , odi only where they don't need him to open, he might hit around a few more sixes in most leagues around the world , (credit to him for dispatching the poor bowling ) .

  • simonp3164620 on May 8, 2017, 12:07 GMT

    Narine as a batsman due to BBL and IPL gave him the opportunity to florish

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