Former Indian opener Aakash Chopra reckons Sunil Narine’s spell was the turning point of the match in the Eliminator contest against Royal Challengers Bangalore at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Monday.
Narine bowled a match-winning spell and breathed down the neck of the RCB batters.
The veteran spinner first dismissed KS Bharat, who had played a good knock against Delhi Capitals. Subsequently, he got the big wicket of Virat Kohli, who was trying to play a big shot. Narine then dismissed AB de Villiers and Glenn Maxwell in his third and fourth over respectively and broke the back of RCB’s middle-order.
Narine picked four wickets and conceded only 21 runs in his four overs. Thus, KKR was able to restrict RCB to a paltry score of 138 runs and the Virat Kohli-led was probably 10-15 runs short of a par score. RCB was not able to get going in the middle overs and Narine played a key role in choking the flow of runs.
Furthermore, Varun Chakravarthy and Shakib Al Hasan conceded only 44 runs in the eight overs they bowled collectively.
Aakash Chopra said on his YouTube Channel, “Sunil Narine came and shined. He picked up four wickets. He dismissed Virat Kohli, Bharat, Maxi and AB and that’s about it. That was game, set, match, and everything else.”
“RCB’s success formula has been that they are not a one-man team – they had Kohli, Padikkal, Bharat, Maxi, and AB – but Sunil Narine cleaned up all of them.”
Meanwhile, Chopra added that Maxwell shot was not on as Narine was bowling his final over of the spell. Maxwell tried to reverse sweep Narine on two consecutive balls but couldn’t get the connection he was looking for and then holed at the short third man after getting a top-edge.
“AB de Villiers’ lack of form came back to bite you. When you look back, you should have probably given him a chance to play more deliveries. Maxi’s shot I thought was not required because his [Narine’s] spell was about to get over. You were the only one left and you had to take them forward.”