Kolkata Knight Riders chased down a 128-run target with 10 balls to spare as they defeated Delhi Capitals by three wickets in the Indian Premier League on Tuesday.

The Knight Riders suffered defeat to table-toppers Chennai Super Kings last time out but, thanks to the all-round efforts of Sunil Narine, hit back in a low-scoring affair to move into a playoff spot. 

Delhi were restricted to 127-9 after being put in to bat. Despite Steve Smith (39) steadying the ship, with the Australian top-scoring alongside Rishabh Pant, Kolkata ripped through their opponents' batting line-up. 

Narine claimed 2-18 from four economical overs, while there were also two wickets apiece for Lockie Ferguson and Venkatesh Iyer. 

KKR chased down that score with relative ease in the end, albeit only after surviving a bit of a scare early on in their response. 

Iyer and Rahul Tripathi departed inside the powerplay for 14 and nine respectively, though Shubman Gill (30) anchored the innings, his runs coming from 33 deliveries. 

Skipper Eoin Morgan fell to Ravichandran Ashwin for a duck before Dinesh Karthik followed for 12, leaving the score at 96-5. 

The loss of Narine (21) raised the prospect of late drama, but Nitish Rana (36 not out) got his side over the line for a potentially huge victory in the context of the campaign.

Hard works pays off for Narine 

Narine was named player of the match after an impressive cameo of 21 off 10 balls – including two sixes and one four – to swing the contest back firmly in KKR's favour. 

"Batting in the middle order is challenging," Narine said. "It's pleasing to see hard work paying off after a long time. I think we are playing some good cricket." 

Khan impresses in defeat

Avesh Khan took three wickets, conceded just 13 runs and had an economy rate of 4.33 runs per over. The 24-year-old has now picked up at least one wicket in all but one game this season, though it was not enough to help Delhi find a way to prevail. 

"I was really happy with our bowling performance today," losing skipper Rishabh Pant said. "But batting was pretty difficult for the new batters. Overall there isn't massive changes needed." 

St Kitts & Nevis Patriots returned to winning ways with an eight-wicket victory over the Trinbago Knight Riders on Saturday night to seal a spot in the latter stages of the 2021 Hero Caribbean Premier League. 

The Patriots bowled brilliantly and then backed that up with a dominant batting display that saw them knock off the victory target with 32 balls to spare. 

 It was Evin Lewis who was the star of the show, making 102 from just 52 balls. 

 The Knight Riders got off to a slow start in the face of some excellent bowling from the Patriots. They reached the end of their PowerPlay at 28-2 with both Lendl Simmons and Denesh Ramdin dismissed caught on the mid-wicket boundary. Ramdin could have gone an over earlier, but Ravi Bopara put down a simple chance. Thankfully for the Patriots, this did not prove too costly. 

A 50-run stand between Darren Bravo and Colin Munro steadied the ship and brought the Knight Riders back into the contest. Munro would go on to top score with 47 but when Darren Bravo went for 22 the Knight Riders lost momentum once again. When Munro and Kieron Pollard went in successive balls bowled by Jon-Russ Jaggesar it looked as if the Knight Riders would set a sub-par total but some big hitting from Sunil Narine took his team to 159-7. 

 The Patriots innings got off to a flying start thanks to Evin Lewis and Chris Gayle who was promoted to open as a result of an injury to Devon Thomas. They reached 67-1 from their PowerPlay overs with Gayle the wicket to fall for 35 from 18 balls. 

When Gayle went it was Lewis who took up the attack, passing his fifty from just 27 balls. While Narine was economical, returning figures of 0/10 from his four overs, the rest of the Knight Riders bowlers struggled for control in the face of the Lewis onslaught. 

Bopara and Lewis shared an 85-run stand, and Bopara contributed just seven runs as the Patriots opener smashed the ball to all parts. 

 This win moves the Patriots back to the top of the table and guarantees them a space in the semi-finals on Tuesday 14 September. 

Scores: St Kitts & Nevis Patriots 160-2 (Lewis 102*, Gayle 35; Pollard 1-20, Khan 1-54) beat Trinbago Knight Riders 159-7 (Munro 47, Narine 32*; Jaggesar 3-32, Drakes 3-32) by eight wickets

 

In-form batsman Sherfane Rutherford and spinner Sunil Narine were among a few players not eligible for selection to the World Cup squad after failing fitness standards, chief of selectors Roger Harper has confirmed.

In the ongoing Caribbean Premier League (CPL), Rutherford has been one of the most outstanding players so far, scoring 201 runs in 7 matches, with an average of 40.20 and a strike rate of 136.73.  Speculation had linked the player with a late consideration for a space in the West Indies World Cup squad but, as it has for other players in the recent past, it turns out his fitness level was an issue. 

“As well as he has been performing he is one of a few players who did not meet our fitness criteria, so he was not eligible for selection,” Harper told members of the media, in explaining the player’s omission.

Narine, once the top-ranked spinner in the world, has recently shown versatility at the top of the order as a pinch-hitter and could have been a weapon for the team at the tournament. 

“Sunil Narine is a great miss for a team like this in a tournament like this.  Any team would miss having a bowler of that quality in the team but as I mentioned with Rutherford and some of the others Sunil also did not make our fitness standards,” Harper said.

Based on standards implemented by Cricket West Indies (CWI), in 2019, players must achieve a mark of 40 in the Yo-Yo Endurance Test unless given a medical exemption by the CWI medical committee.  Another player that has shown plenty of promise during the CPL campaign, but did also did not meet the fitness standards, was fast bowler Odean Smith.

Guyana Amazon Warriors claimed a stunning Super Over victory over the Trinbago Knight Riders at the 2021 Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL).

Cricket great Sunil Gavaskar believes having Sunil Narine batting in the Kolkata Knight Riders’ middle order is a complete waste of time as the team needs quality batsmen in their line-up to be able to reverse their fortunes in the IPL this season.

KKR are currently eighth in the IPL standings after just two wins from their seven matches to date, a position that Gavaskar believes comes down to one thing.

"To be honest, they don’t have too many classy batsmen. I don’t know how many in the dugout they can look to and say, ‘Look… why don’t you come in and bat up the order.’ Because if you have a look at their batting, apart from Shubman Gill and Morgan himself, there is no class," Gavaskar said on Cricket Connected.

"There is Andre Russell down at five or six and Dinesh Karthik,” Gavaskar continued.

“I would look at promoting Karthik up the order, because for simple reasons. There is Rahul Tripathi up. Sunil Narine at 4 or 5 whatever is a waste of space. It doesn’t make any sense having him there. If you want to have Sunil Narine, have him at the top of the order where he can throw his bat around, and maybe if he connects a few, that’s fine.

“KKR’s problem is that they haven’t got anybody at three, four, five who can play an impact innings."

 

Former West Indies batsman Suruj Ragoonath insists that he would leave both veteran players Chris Gayle and Sunil Narine out of a squad for the T20 World Cup, but very for different reasons.

With the World Cup just a few months away, the debate has raged on regarding the most effective composition of the squad.  Experienced players like Gayle, Narine, and Dwayne Bravo, who all have world titles under their belts, remain eligible for selection.  Some have called for the selection panel to look past the players.

Recently, the selection of veteran players Fidel Edwards and Gayle, for the West Indies series against Sri Lanka, set off vigorous debate around the region.  While some endorsed the decision the Cricket West Indies (CWI) selection panel’s decision to add experience to the World Cup squad.  Some argued that Gayle being 41 and Edwards 39, the CWI should be invested in selecting promising youth players.

 In the meantime, top spinner Narine is only 32 but has not appeared for the West Indies since 2019 and prior to that had not played consistently.

“I don’t think that Sunil Narine is interested in going to World Cup, to be honest, given the challenges he had,” Ragoonath told the Mason and Guest radio program.

“Dwayne Bravo is showing that he is still capable and Chris Gayle for me is a big question mark.  For the first time, I’ve seen Chris Gayle actually dive around in a match.  The last game they played (Punjab King’s XI).  He looks a little fitter, but at the same time, I am not inclined to taking Chris Gayle to a World Cup at this stage,” he added.

Gayle struggled to make an impact against Sri Lanka in March, scoring just 29 runs in three matches.  Since the start of this season’s IPL, the batsman has been solid, if not spectacular for Punjab Kings XI after scoring 165 runs from seven matches.

“Of the three, I would love to have Sunil Narine on my side, but psychologically Sunil is not half the player he used to be and so Bravo is the only one I would give serious consideration to.”

West Indies chief of selectors, Roger Harper, has revealed that the panel remains in the dark regarding the future of spinner Sunil Narine who remains unavailable for selection.

The 32-year-old Narine is widely regarded as one of the best spinners in the world but has not appeared for the West Indies since 2019.  In total, Narine has played 6 Test matches, where he claimed 21 wickets, 65 One Day Internationals, where he has claimed 92 wickets, and 51 T20 Internationals where he has taken 52.

The player has, however, throughout his career been plagued by questions surrounding his bowling action.  In 2015, Narine was suspended from bowling in international cricket, after his action was deemed to be illegal.  He was reported during the ODI series against Sri Lanka.  He was cleared a year later after doing remedial work on his action.  Narine was reported again during the 2018 Pakistan Super League but was cleared soon after.  Again, in October 2020, the spinner was reported by on-field umpires for his bowling action in the 2020 Indian Premier League, which was cleared by IPL Suspect Bowling Action Committee in September.

According to Harper, at this point, the bowler does not seem comfortable enough with his technique to return to international cricket.

“Sunil Narine has indicated to us that he is not yet ready for the international scene,”
 Harper told the Mason and Guest radio program.

“He was still in the process of fine-tuning his action.  He had some issues with that so he is in the process of fine-tuning it,” he added.

“So, when he makes himself available and thinks that he is ready for international cricket, we will then have to make a determination at that point.”

Trinidad & Tobago Red Force maintained their unbeaten run in the CG Insurance Super50 Cup with a nine-wicket win over Leeward Islands Hurricanes at Coolidge Cricket Ground on Wednesday night.

The Red Force bowled out the home side for 129 and then motored to 130-1 off 24.5 overs. It was their fourth win and earned them a spot in the semi-finals.

Sunil Narine, playing his 100th List A match, was brilliant as he took 3-36 from his 10 overs. One of his wickets came from a perfectly flighted off-break which turned a long way and rattled the stumps of Terrence Warde.

However, fast bowler Ravi Rampaul was named the CG Insurance Man-of-the-Match for his excellent new-ball spell and took 3-17 from seven overs.

The top score for the Hurricanes came from opener Kieran Powell (29), while Hayden WalshJjr chipped in with 26.

The Red Force them reached the target with little bother as Kjorn Ottley and Jason Mohammed shared an unbroken second-wicket partnership of 93. Ottley made 47 not out with six fours and a six over cover, while Mohammed remained unbeaten on 40 off 55 balls with four boundaries.

 Evin Lewis gave the innings a flying start as he smashed two sixes and three fours in 28 off 27 balls, but fell, caught at point off pacer Quinton Boatswain.

Rampaul was quite pleased with his contribution and the outcome.

“I am very happy with the performance of all our bowlers throughout this tournament. I’ve been putting some hard work in the conditions and I reaped the rewards today (Wednesday),” he said at the conclusion of the match.

“It feels great to get the Man-of-the-Match.  It’s always a pleasure to play for my country and I’m really enjoying it. I grew up playing with a lot of my team-mates and it’s been good fun. We believe we can win and we want to win."

Thursday: Windward Islands Volcanoes vs Barbados Pride at Sir Vivian Richards Stadium. First ball is 9 am (8 am Jamaica Time).

 

 

Shimron Hetmyer, Dwayne Bravo and Andre Russell were among West Indies players were retained by their Indian Premier League franchises on Wednesday. However, several others were cut loose and will re-enter the pool of players eligible for the IPL Draft coming up on February 11.

West Indies spinner, Sunil Narine, believes that cricket’s T10 format could be the best choice for inclusion at the Olympic Games as it is even more exciting than the T20 version.

Cricket has not been played at the Olympic Games since 1900, where Britain and France were the only two teams that participated.  There have, however, been numerous discussions geared towards reviving the sport at the Games in recent years, with T20 cricket identified as the best format.  Narine, however, believes that T10 could also be a consideration.

“The T10 format is more exciting than the T20 format. In T20s, the batters take a few overs before starting their attacking skills, however, in T10 the batters probably look for only one or two balls,” Narine told the Daily Times.

“There’s always a possibility to attract new fans through a shorter format of cricket and more exciting cricket. It will be an exciting thing if cricket is included in the Olympics as well and hopefully, maybe T10 could be a part of the Olympics,” he added.

The 10 over-format of the sport was introduced in the United Arab Emirates in 2017, it is, however, yet to be widely adopted.

Narine will be among a number of West Indies players taking part in this season’s edition.  The spinner will represent the Deccan Gladiators, alongside West Indies T20 captain Kieron Pollard.

Nicholas Pooran believes the West Indies’ low ranking in T20 cricket is due mainly to the fact that it hasn’t been able to put its best players on the field of play often enough.

The West Indies are currently ranked 10th in the ICC T20 rankings despite having some of the best players in the world in their talent pool. However, Pooran anticipates that the team could show its full potential at the next world cup.

“I just believe that most of the series West Indies play, they don't play with their strongest team. And by strongest I mean Chris Gayle, Pollard, Russell, Narine, Bravo in the team together,” the talented Trinidadian said in a recent interview with ESPNCricinfo.

“In the last couple of years, we haven't witnessed these players together. Either most of them weren't selected, some were unavailable ... but definitely a case around that.

“We couldn't play as a team after the last T20 World Cup. This, I am saying from a player's and a fan's point of view. Not seeing some of my favourite players represent West Indies might be one of the reasons.”

Notwithstanding the disappointment that comes with that reality, Pooran said he is looking forward to the coming T20 World Cup where he expects to be a better player holding his own amongst the best players from the region.

“Personally, I am looking forward to the T20 World Cup. As a team, our strength is T20s. For the last couple of years, we've been doing good in World Cups, but as a team where we are ranked [10th], it doesn't show how good our team actually is,” he said, indicating that believes that situation could change in the near future.

“Most of the senior guys are coming back to the West Indies team ... like Kieron Pollard, Dwayne Bravo, Andre Russell and Sunil Narine are all coming back eventually.

“As a player, I am especially excited because I want to do good for the West Indies people and put a smile on their faces. My record for West Indies in T20s isn't that good and I want to improve that for the next couple of months.”

 

 

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