Virat Kohli gets cleaned up by Sunil Narine in the IPL 2021 Eliminator. (Photo: BCCI)
Seven balls (four bowled and three faced) involving Sunil Narine ensured the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) beat the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 Eliminator. KKR romped home with four wickets to spare in Sharjah on Monday (October 11).
Sunil Narine claimed four key wickets of Virat Kohli, KS Bharat, Glenn Maxwell and AB de Villiers. He also smacked three sixes off the first three balls he faced to completely change the match equation that hung in the balance at the time of his arrival.
Two-time IPL champions KKR will now face Delhi Capitals (DC) in Qualifier 2 in Sharjah on Wednesday (October 13).
As Virat Kohli bows out of IPL captaincy with a defeat, let’s look at six interesting stats from the IPL Eliminator involving two very popular teams.
#1 KKR continue to trouble RCB
Right since the first-ever match of the IPL, KKR have found ways to get the better of RCB. From Brendon McCullum destroying RCB in their backyard in 2008 to skittling the Bengaluru franchise out for a record low of 49 at Eden Gardens in 2017, KKR now enjoy a 17-13 aggregate against their Bengaluru opponents.
A proud batting unit, RCB have failed to register a six only four times in completed innings in the IPL. All four occasions came against KKR.
They didn’t even allow DC to hit a six in Sharjah in their league game. KKR also remain unbeaten in Sharjah in all three of their matches this season.
#2 The firsts for Sunil Narine
Sunil Narine became the first cricketer with three four-wicket hauls against a team in the IPL.
4-0-22-4 vs RCB, Ranchi, IPL 20134-0-20-4 vs RCB, Kolkata, IPL 20144-0-21-4 vs RCB, Sharjah, IPL 2021
He also became the first cricketer to hit three consecutive sixes to start an IPL innings.
Narine’s four-wicket haul and a game-changing 15-ball 26 won him the Player of the Match award as well.
#3 An unlikely first for Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers
AB de Villiers and Virat Kohli remain the most prolific pair in T20 cricket. (Photo: BCCI)
AB de Villiers joined RCB in IPL 2011. Over the next 10 years, he and Virat Kohli formed one of the most lethal batting pairs in the competition. With 3,175 runs at an average of 44.1, they lead the batting partnership charts in all T20s. They are the only pair in T20 cricket with two 200+ stands.
The duo didn’t bat together at all in IPL 2021, which is the first time it has happened in their 11 seasons of playing together.
#4 Virat Kohli and the co-incidences of ‘39’
Virat Kohli played his 139th innings as captain in the IPL on Monday. He made his captaincy debut in the IPL during the 2011 edition and in a match against Rajasthan Royals. He stroked a 34-ball 39 not out to help RCB to a win.
In his last game as a captain for RCB against KKR, he top-scored in the match with a 33-ball 39. His efforts helped RCB set a target of 139 which they failed to defend.
Additionally, his last fifty this season came in the 39th match of the tournament.
#5 Almost a record for Harshal Patel
Harshal Patel equalled Dwayne Bravo’s record of most wickets in an IPL season. The West Indian claimed 32 wickets in IPL 2013, a feat matched by the RCB pacer in 2021. Patel finished with figures of 4-0-19-2 against KKR on Monday.
Had Devdutt Padikkal not dropped Sunil Narine in Harshal Patel’s final over, the pacer could have owned the record for most wickets in an IPL season.
Dwayne Bravo in IPL 2013: M 18 | W 32 | Ave 15.53 | BB 4/42 | Econ 7.95 | 4+ 1Harshal Patel in IPL 2021: M 15 | W 32 | Ave 14.34 | BB 5/27 | Econ 7.95 | 4+ 2
#6 Virat Kohli’s barren wardrobe as skipper
MS Dhoni (203 matches) is the only captain to have led in more games than Virat Kohli (140 matches) in the IPL. The list is followed by Gautam Gambhir (129 matches), Rohit Sharma (129 matches), Adam Gilchrist (74 matches), David Warner (64 matches) and Shane Warner (55 matches). Apart from Kohli, all the other men on the list have led their sides to at least one IPL title.
Additionally, only Dhoni (299 matches) and Darren Sammy (208 matches) have captained more T20 games than Virat Kohli (184 matches).
Kohli’s cabinet for major trophies remains barren, and the upcoming T20 World Cup will be his last chance to sign off from T20 captaincy on a high.