Sunil Narine registered his highest IPL score © AFP
Sunil Narine registered his highest IPL score © AFP

Match 44 of ongoing VIVO IPL 2018 is halfway through. Opting to bowl first, Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) bowlers were flattened in the small Holkar Stadium, Indore by Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR). Sunil Narine’s highest IPL score (75), other top-order contributions, and late explosion from skipper Dinesh Karthik, Andre Russell and Shubman Gill took KKR to 245 for 6 in 20 overs — their highest score in IPL history and the highest score of the ongoing edition of the tournament. All eyes will now be on Chris Gayle, KL Rahul, Aaron Finch and co.

KKR, coming on the back of a 102-run defeat, commenced the innings in style. Chris Lynn was lucky: he got away with back-to-back inside-edges that went for fours. He accelerated from there, while Narine continued to make merry in Powerplay overs. KXIP resorted to short deliveries, but Narine towed with the field. Barinder Sran was the most expensive of the lot.

The carnage continued against Purple Cap holder Andrew Tye. However, Tye sent back Lynn after being hammered for successive boundaries. Lynn went for a pull off a short delivery, the ball hit his thigh and deflected off his gloves to hit timber.

The run flow didn’t come to a halt. Narine took on Ravichandran Ashwin, Akshar Patel and Sran, while Uthappa picked up the odd boundary. The run-rate was 11.18 after 11 overs. Then Ashwin recalled Tye, who outdid both batsmen with his variations.

But the platform was set, and Karthik commenced the innings without any discomfort. He made the most of the short boundaries, and added 76 runs with Russell in 31 balls. Karthik’s mixed innovation with orthodoxy, while Russell was all power, often applying weight on his knees to provide extra impetus to convert those booming shots into sixes.

Karthik continued the carnage despite the fall of Russell and Rana. KKR never lost momentum. The last 5 overs went for 77. Shubman Gill joined in the fun as well, and IPL debutant Javon Scantlebury-Searles announced his arrival with a six off the only ball he faced.

This is a small ground, and the situation is tailor-made for the likes of Gayle, Rahul and Finch. However, the total is a humongous. Narine, Piyush Chawla and Kuldeep Yadav will have to vary pace and tossed them up to invite the big shots.

KXIP will probably aim to live and die by the sword, but a big defeat for KXIP will have a glaring impact on their net run rate.

Brief scores:

Kolkata Knight Riders 245 for 6 in 20 overs (Chris Lynn 27, Sunil Narine 75, Robin Uthappa 24, Andre Russell 31, Dinesh Karthik 50; Andrew Tye 4 for 41, Mohit Sharma 1 for 40) vs Kings XI Punjab