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Narine’s explosive IPL form continues as KKR opener blasts maiden ton

Narine, who is the third highest scorer in IPL 2024, had played around 750 balls in his entire IPL career before the start of his latest blitzkrieg.

Kolkata Knight Riders’ Sunil Narine plays a shot during an Indian Premier League match against Rajasthan Royals at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on April 16, 2024. (Photo by DIBYANGSHU SARKAR/AFP via Getty Images) 

By: Shubham Ghosh

SUNIL NARINE, a 12-year veteran of the Indian Premier League (IPL), on Tuesday (16) slammed his maiden century in the tournament to score 109 in 56 balls against Rajasthan Royals (RR) at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata to propel his side Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) to an advantageous position.

Narine’s century came in just 49 balls and it was the first three-figure score that he has scored in any form of cricket.

The 35-year-old spinner allrounder, who has been opening in this edition of the IPL successfully and slammed a quick 85 against Delhi Capitals a few weeks ago, hit six sixes and 11 boundaries and his brisk knock at a strike rate exceeding 194 saw the KKR posting 223 for 6 in 20 overs after RR captain Sanju Samson won the toss and elected to field.

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Narine was the joint third highest scorer in the ongoing IPL with 276 runs after six matches along with RR’s Samson, trailing only Royal Challengers Bengaluru’s Virat Kohli (361) and RR’s Riyan Parag (307). It may be mentioned here that Narine had played around 750 balls in 168 matches in his 12-year IPL career before the start of his latest blitzkrieg.

The 2024 season has seen Narine batting at a strike rate of 187.76, his second best after the 2018 season when he had batted at the strike rate of nearly 190.

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The winner of the game was set to go to the top of the points table. While KKR are two points behind RR before the start of the match, a win would ensure them the top position since they have a better net-run rate.

There were not much to write about in the KKR innings apart from Narine. Angkrish Raghuvanshi (30 off 18) and Rinku Singh (20 not out off nine) were the next top scorers. the RR bowlers, however, were guilty of conceding 21 extra runs in the KKR innings that included 13 wides.

The KKR took to X to suggest that all three centuries that their batters have hit in the IPL have come in the month of April, starting from Brendon McCullum’s 73-ball 158 not out against Royal Challengers Bangalore in 2008 to Venkatesh Iyer’s 104 off 51 against Mumbai Indians last year to Narine’s feat. Iyer and Narine, in fact, scored their centuries exactly a year apart on April 16 while McCullum’s ton had come on April 18 in the first season in 2008.

Bollywood actor and KKR co-owner Shah Rukh Khan was also seen applauding the West Indian for his century.

RR were 118 for 4 in the 12th over while chasing the target.

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