A lot has been said about Sunil Narine’s batting position for Kolkata Knight Riders. Narine has been opening for the team since the start of Indian Premier League 2020, and yet he has not been able to give KKR a good start at the top. KKR brought in Rahul Tripathi in the playing XI against Delhi Capitals in the previous game, but still decided to go with Narine as the opener, a decision which was highly criticised by fans after the 18-run defeat.
But despite all the questions being raised on Narine’s batting, there is hardly anyone who would suggest keeping the off-spinner out of the team, because of his bowling abilities. Against CSK, Narine would be KKR’s biggest asset.
For starters, Narine enjoys bowling in Abu Dhabi. The best IPL bowling figures at the venue is Narine’s 4/20 against Mumbai Indians in 2014. If that is not all, Narine will be a key player in tackling Faf du Plessis’ threat.
Du Plessis has been in tremendous form this season – and is only 21 runs away from getting the Orange cap. But his struggle against spin bowling has been well documented. In IPL 2020, du Plessis has scored just 33 per cent of the run against spin bowlers. Since IPL 2018, du Plessis has been dismissed by 7 times by a spinner. He also particularly struggles against off-spinners, having an average of just 12 runs, which makes Narine an even bigger threat for Faf.
Du Plessis’ strike rate in IPL against Narine is just 66.66 and he has been dismissed by the off-spinner once in five innings.
But the Proteas is not the only batsman that Narine has a good record against. CSK captain MS Dhoni has not yet hit a single boundary off Narine in IPL.
Narine’s economy rate agianst CSK is 6.00 which is the best by any bowler who has bowled at least 250 balls against CSK in IPL.
KKR will be entering the match on the back of a losing effort to Delhi Capitals, and will be hoping that Narine magic can spun them back to winning ways.
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