Narine blitz powers Kolkata to 272 and third win

Kolkata Knight Riders’ Sunil Narine plays a shot during the Indian Premier League (IPL) Twenty20 cricket match between Delhi Capitals and Kolkata Knight Riders at the Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy cricket stadium in Visakhapatnam on 3 April, 2024AFP

West Indies’ Sunil Narine smashed 85 to lead Kolkata Knight Riders to the second-best ever IPL total of 272-7 in a crushing 106-run victory over Delhi Capitals on Wednesday.

The mammoth score came just a week after Sunrisers Hyderabad posted the highest ever innings total of 277-3.

Kolkata, IPL champions in 2012 and 2014, remain unbeaten from three matches this season after they bowled out Delhi for 166 in 17.2 overs to top the 10-team table.

Delhi skipper Rishabh Pant made 55 off 25 balls, his second successive fifty, and Tristan Stubbs hit 54 but the rest of the batting flopped.

The venue was Delhi’s adopted home ground due to the upcoming general elections in India but Narine and Kolkata made it their own.

“Cricket is all about batting, so to contribute with the bat is pleasing but I also enjoy my bowling,” Narine, an all-rounder more renowned for his bowling who returned figures of 1-29 with his spin, said after being named man of the match.

“On a good wicket like that, we bowled well and were on the money, so a total team effort from us tonight.”

Narine, opening the batting, tore into the Delhi attack as he hit seven fours and seven sixes in his 39-ball blitz for his highest T20 score in his 501st match.

Narine, 35, smashed Delhi seamer Ishant Sharma for 26 runs in an over as he raised his fifty in 21 balls and put on 104 runs with teenage debutant Angkrish Raghuvanshi, who hit 54.

There was no respite for the bowlers as Narine’s departure off Mitchell Marsh in the 13th over brought in Andre Russell for another punishing knock.

Russell hammered 41 off 19 balls and then Rinku Singh threatened to help KKR surpass Hyderabad’s record total with his eight-ball 26.

South African quick Anrich Nortje sent back Rinku at the end of the 19th over and Ishant bowled Russell with a toe-crushing yorker at the start of the 20th as Kolkata fell just short of the record.

The innings featured 18 sixes and 22 fours.

Delhi were never in the chase after they lost four wickets, including Marsh out for a duck off fellow Australian Mitchell Starc, inside five overs.

It was the first wicket of the season for left-arm quick Starc, who became the most expensive buy in IPL history after Kolkata shelled out $2.98 million for him in the auction.

Starc also bowled David Warner for 18 and said it was “nice to have them (Marsh and Warner) in the pocket”.

Pant and Stubbs put on 93 runs for the fifth wicket before both fell to spinner Varun Chakravarthy, who took three wickets.

Medium-pacer and impact substitute Vaibhav Arora also claimed three wickets.