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

Narine and the art of pinch-hitting

Sunil Narine had never scored a fifty in T20s before today, but he changed that in some style

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Tait: Going to be hard to put Narine down the order now

Star turn

Sunil Narine's capricious journey as a T20 batsman has reached a peak he might never hit again. The fastest fifty in IPL history, a 15-ball effort at the ground Chris Gayle has called home for a while now.

Narine's new avatar has plugged an Andre-Russell shaped gap for Kolkata Knight Riders and on Sunday he was given an additional responsibility. He was to ease Chris Lynn's comeback from shoulder injury. And so he did.

The first ten deliveries Narine faced were off Samuel Badree, whom he had bested the last time they faced off. This time, Badree seemed to have gained the upper hand, and even induced a wild slog that barely evaded short third man. The next six balls went for 25 runs.

KKR were off to a flier, Lynn felt absolutely no pressure and Narine wasn't done yet. He clattered a further 24 runs against S Aravind, who, after being hit for three sixes over long-off, insisted on bowling length outside the off stump. The only change up was a full toss on middle which Narine dispatched to the midwicket boundary. By the end of that over it was evident that RCB didn't even want to try anymore.

It was only fair that Narine got to hack one-third of the 159 target. He had after all toppled AB de Villiers inside the Powerplay, and ended the 71-run fourth-wicket stand between Mandeep Singh and Travis Head that had kept the home side in the game.

Sunil Narine sets an IPL record © ESPNcricinfo Ltd

The wow moment

Halfway into the fifth over, Aravind was visibly panicking. He bowled two wides after conceding 14 off four balls. Unable to nail whatever the counter was to Narine's straight hitting, he bowled the fifth at off stump on a length and this time Narine decided not to go over mid-off. He got slightly inside the line, stood tall, and thumped it on the up over long-on to bring up his fifty.

Stats that matter

  • Narine scored 28 runs through the long-off region, including three sixes
  • Today was the first time Narine took two wickets in a game this IPL - his previous best was 1 for 18

What they said

"I haven't seen such a partnership. Unbelievable effort. You don't expect people to get 105 in 6 overs."
Gautam Gambhir

"If West Indies are looking for a new opener in the shorter format @SunilPNarine74 it is!"
Yuvraj Singh, on Twitter

Varun Shetty is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • amindh6043107 on May 8, 2017, 14:44 GMT

    @cricfam45768415, surely anybody and everybody knows that the pitches in tests and t20 roads are VASTLY different.You think these random singhs and sharmas who hit 50 m sixes here are doing so on those same tracks as the tests?

  • sumeet4062567 on May 8, 2017, 12:03 GMT

    @Cricinfouser So why did Hashim Amla, ABD and Kane failed in tests in India. Also what happened to Gayle and Miller not able to survive even local Indian bowling.

  • desilv8838765 on May 8, 2017, 5:15 GMT

    He is showing everyone that anyone can be a batsman on those flat Indian roads

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