Rampant Narine inspires KKR triumph


Sunil Narine equalled the record for the fastest half-century in the Indian Premier League as Kolkata Knight Riders romped to a record-breaking six-wicket win over rock-bottom Royal Challengers Bangalore.

The West Indies left-hander - not previously noted for his run-scoring prowess - shone after international team-mate Chris Gayle had flopped, racing to 50 off just 15 deliveries to mirror the feat of KKR colleague Yusuf Pathan against Sunrisers Hyderabad in 2014.

In stark contrast, Gayle was out first ball in RCB's total of 158-6, which the visitors - who climb to second - surpassed with 29 balls to spare, reaching numerous milestones along the way in Bengaluru.

Gayle's dismissal set the tone for an underwhelming innings from the hosts, who were dragged to a modest score courtesy of excellent contributions from Mandeep Singh (52) and Travis Head (75).

Umesh Yadav's 3-36 included the scalps of Gayle and skipper Virat Kohli, while Narine had already made his mark in the manner he is more accustomed to by taking two wickets.

The real fireworks started once KKR went out to bat, with Narine suddenly looking every inch an opener, albeit against a bowling attack that lacked cohesion.

By the time Narine was dismissed with the first ball of the seventh over, he had bludgeoned six fours and four maximums to account for 54 of his side's 106 runs, ably assisted by Chris Lynn (50).

Along the way KKR tallied the highest powerplay score in IPL history, while also becoming the quickest to reach the 50 and 100 marks.

Of the RCB bowlers, Sreenath Aravind endured the greatest humiliation, conceding 26 runs off his solitary over.

Reflecting on his mantle as the unlikely dual holder of a batting record, Narine said: "I'm surprised too.

"Lynn just said keep your eyes on the ball, keep focused and swing at it. I try to keep it simple.

"I'll hopefully get used to the expectations, but it really was a team effort. Umesh's wickets early especially were key and I'm thankful for it."