IPL 2021: Eliminator, RCB vs KKR – Who Said What

IPL 2021: Eliminator, RCB vs KKR – Who Said What

KKR will face Delhi Capitals in the second qualifier on October 13.

Kolkata Knight Riders
Kolkata Knight Riders. (Photo Source: Twitter/Indian Premier League)

Sunil Narine’s all-round brilliance cut short Royal Challengers Bangalore’s IPL 2021 run, as the Kolkata Knight Riders clinched the Eliminator by four wickets and a couple of balls to spare. They will meet Delhi Capitals in the second qualifier on October 13, the winner of which will face MS Dhoni’s Chennai Super Kings in the ultimate clash on October 15.

Narine on the given day could do no wrong, turning everything he touched into gold. With the ball, he scalped 4/21, including the wickets of RCB’s golden trio of Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers and Glenn Maxwell. With the bat, he smoked a 15-ball 26 that had three sixes off Daniel Christian in a momentum-shifting 22-run 12th over during KKR’s attempt to chase 140.

The loss for RCB also means it’s the end of an era as Virat Kohli will no longer remain the franchise’s captain when the next season arrives. On Monday, he opted to bat first after winning the toss, scoring a 33-ball 39 with five fours to provide a cracking start to his team alongside fellow opener Devdutt Padikkal, who scored 21 off 18. Their free-flowing stand was broken by Lockie Ferguson, who sent back Padikkal before Narine strangulated the RCB middle-order with incredible discipline.

Having had a brilliant season thus far, Glenn Maxwell could not emulate his heroics, scoring an uncharacteristic 15 off 18 before being cleaned up. AB de Villiers’ defence was breached by Narine when he was 11 off 9 to finish any chances of an RCB recovery. Despite returning wicketless, spinner Varun Chakravarthy and Shakib Al Hasan assisted an on-song Narine exceedingly well, giving just 44 in their eight overs combined.

Much like RCB, KKR made a quickfire start, with Shubam Gill accelerating with ease. However, the purple cap holder Harshal Patel ended his 29-run knock after which the team went into a shell. Venkatesh Iyer was not at his fluent best, scoring 26 off 30 with only one six, before perishing to the same man his opening partner did.

In between Yuzvendra Chahal pinned Rahul Tripathi lbw and later returned to send Nitish Rana (23 off 25) back. Narine’s assault, however, ensured that the pressure was shifted back on RCB. A final tale in the twist arrived in Mohammed Siraj’s double-wicket 18th over that saw the back of both Narine and Dinesh Karthik. However, Morgan and Shakib scored the remaining 13 runs to knock RCB out.

Losing skipper Virat Kohli:

 I think those middle overs where their spinners dominated the game was the difference. They kept bowling in tight areas and kept picking wickets. We had a great start and it was about quality bowling and not bad batting. They thoroughly deserve to win this one and be in the next round. The fight till the end with the ball has been the hallmark of our team. That one big over (22 runs) in the middle deflated our chances. We fought till the last over and made an amazing game out of it. 15 runs less with the bat and a couple of big overs with the ball cost us. Sunil Narine has always been a quality bowler and today he once again showed it. Shakib, Varun and him created pressure and didn’t allow our batsmen to get away in the middle. [On him leaving captaincy at RCB] I have tried my best to create a culture here where youngsters could come in and play with freedom and belief. It is something I have done with India as well. I have given my best. I don’t know how the response has been, but I have given 120% to this franchise every time, which is something I will now do as a player. It is a great time to regroup and restructure for the next three years with people who will take this ahead. [On him staying with RCB] Yes definitely, I don’t see myself playing anywhere else. Loyalty matters more to me than worldly pleasures. I would be in the RCB till the last day I play in the IPL.

Winning skipper Eoin Morgan:

He makes it look very very easy (Narine). On an improved wicket in Sharjah he bowled outstandingly. Throughout the innings we continued to take wickets post the first six overs. Then in the chase, being in control the whole time doesn’t allow you to breathe as a defending side. Don’t have to do a lot of moving (so many spinners). Huge privilege. When it comes off like that it looks quite strong and deep. The way the wicket played we thought we have to bat quite deep. Onwards and upwards for us. For us it’s a matter of coming back, adjusting and seeing what the wicket does. Looking forward to it. The cricket that we have played and the consistency we have shown has surprised everybody. He’s a true legend of T20 cricket and we’re delighted to have him (Narine).

Player of the Match Sunil Narine:

Any good performance in a match-winning game is always good. Today was my day and made the best use of it. All wickets I enjoy. I’m not that close to what I was before but I’m getting there. Hard work is paying off. Always get some heart beats before the game. But cool and calm during the game. Prefer to have the ball in hand which you can control.