Trinidadian all-rounder Sunil Narine starred with both bat and ball while a steady knock from Nitish Rana helped the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) to a five-wicket win over the Delhi Capitals (DC) in Sharjah on Tuesday. The win boosts the Kolkata outfit’s prospects for making the IPL 2021 playoffs, with the two-time champions currently fourth on the table with 10 points from 11 games. 

Put in to bat first, the Capitals got off to a decent start, with both openers Shikhar Dhawan (24) and Steve Smith (39) – included for Prithvi Shaw – getting starts. However, neither of them went on to capitalise their starts, as Lockie Ferguson removed Dhawan for KKR’s first breakthrough in the fifth over. 

He then sent Smith packing after Narine clean bowled former skipper Shreyas Iyer (1). His replacement as captain Rishabh Pant chipped in with a handy 39, with no other batsman reaching double figures. Pant’s knock also saw him overtake Virender Sehwag as the leading runscorer for the Delhi outfit. 

Narine was the pick of the bowlers, finishing with figures of 2/18, with Lockie Ferguson and Venkatesh Iyer also picking up two wickets each as the KKR bowlers made the most of the slow Sharjah track. 

The other major talking point of the innings came in the final over, when KKR skipper Eoin Morgan and Tim Southee engaged in a heated exchange with Ravichandran Ashwin. 

Meanwhile, DC did well enough till the 13th over of the runchase when KKR were struggling at 76 for 4.

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However Pant had by then finished Ashwin’s (1/24 in 4 overs) quota and had to rely on Lalit Yadav’s fast off-breaks. Rana used the long handle with two huge sixes as 20 came off that over.

In the 16th over, it was Narine, who launched into Rabada and got 21 runs which put KKR in the driver’s seat and despite some late jitters, Rana with a slashed boundary off Anrich Nortje finished the match in style.

Narine was adjudged player of the match.