Kolkata, April 9 (IANS) Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) batsman Mandeep Singh has said that Sunil Narine’s 19-ball 50 took the game away from them and handed Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) a winning start to the Indian Premier League (IPL) at the Eden Gardens here.
KKR rode Narine’s pyrotechnics at the top and some composed batting by newly appointed skipper Dinesh Karthik (35 not out) and Nitish Rana’s all-round show to beat a strong RCB by four wickets on Sunday.
“The turning point was Narine’s innings. If you get a good start like that in the first six overs, half the job is done. There was not much left for others to do once Narine batted like that,” Mandeep said at the post-match press conference.
Narine, who had scored IPL’s fastest fifty last season against the same opposition, smashed a whirlwind 50 from 19 balls to make light of the 177-run target set by Virat Kohli’s charges after being asked to bat first.
Narine completed his half century in 17 balls to become the fourth joint fastest IPL fifty scorer.
Part-time off-spinner Rana (2/11) scalped the big wickets of AB de Villiers and skipper Kohli in successive deliveries to reduce the visitors to 127/4 in 14.3 overs before Mandeep’s 18-ball 37 cameo helped them to a challenging 176/7.
“We lost two big players in crucial junctures and off successive deliveries. We were maybe 10-15 runs short,” Mandeep said.
“I think it was a decent and fighting total. But had we scored 15-20 more, it would have been tougher for the opposition,” the former Kings XI Punjab player added.
Asked if RCB’s bowlers missed a trick, Mandeep said: “We have five bowling options, may be the management will think of (Pawan) Negi as another option next time. But as I said he sealed the game in the first six overs. Otherwise we did a good job at bowling.”