After losing two games in a row, Kolkata Knight Riders got their campaign back on the track with a thumping win over Royal Challengers Bangalore, courtesy of some unbelievable power-hitting from Chris Lynn and Sunil Narine.
Chasing 158 on a pitch where the majority of the batsmen have struggled to get going this season, the visitors went off to the best possible start with their new opening combination of Narine and Lynn taking the Bangalore attack to the cleaners.
Lynn made a spectacular return from his injury layoff by hitting two fours and a six in the very first over and replicated the same in the third over too. Narine soon joined the party and even left Lynn behind, as he left the bowlers stunned with his exceptional batting.
The West Indian began the carnage by hitting his compatriot Samuel Badree for three consecutive sixes and a four in the fourth over before hitting four fours and a six in the next over to score his first IPL fifty in just 15 balls.
By the time the powerplay ended, the Knight Riders were 105 for 0, becoming only the second team after Chennai Super Kings to score 100 or more runs in first six overs. The partnership came to an end on the very first ball after the powerplay when Aniket Choudhary dismissed Narine for 54 off just 17 balls. Two runs later, Lynn also returned to the hut after scoring a 21-ball fifty.
Colin de Grandhomme and Gautam Gambhir then all but sealed the game for the visitors by sharing a 45-run stand before both were dismissed in quick succession. They eventually chased down the total in the 15th over.
Earlier, the Kolkata Knight Riders had done a brilliant job by dismissing Chris Gayle, Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers cheaply before the home side was rescued by half-centuries from Mandeep Singh and Travis Head.
Speaking after the match, Gambhir expressed his astonishment over the unbelievable partnership between Narine and Lynn.
“Haven’t seen such a partnership, to be honest. It was an unbelievable effort. This is the best partnership I’ve seen in my entire career. You don’t see teams getting hundred in six overs. He (Lynn) must be the hardest hitter in international cricket. The way he played today after coming from injury shows how mentally strong he is. It was the team management’s call (to get Narine opening). It was some of the best hitting I’ve seen,” a delighted Gautam Gambhir said.
Sunil Narine was adjudged the Man of the Match for his whirlwind knock.
“Yes, I’m very surprised. Definitely wasn’t expecting something like this. Lynny just said, keep your eyes on the ball, maintain your focus and swing through the line. I try to keep it simple and back my ability. That wicket was key (AB de Villiers) and pulled them back a bit so I’m happy. It was a total team effort. Bowlers stuck to their plans. Umesh’s was a key performance too,” the West Indian said.