For long, Sunil Narine has shown how he can spin his team to victory but the match against Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) also saw the Trinidad-born cricketer make a mark with the bat. Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) skipper Gautam Gambhir surprised everyone by bringing in Narine to open the batting alongside him and the 28-year-old didn't disappoint. While this is not the first time that Narine has taken up the job of an opener, as he has done so quite successfully in the Big Bash League but this was a first in his stint in the Indian Premier League.
The left-hander was particularly brutal against Varun Aaron as he smashed two back to back sixes and a four before getting dismissed by the same bowler. But by then, he had already done his job by scoring a quick-fire 37 off 18 balls. His innings consisted of four boundaries and three sixes as KKR got off to a flying start.
Narine was also the pick of the bowlers for KKR, returning with figures of 1 for 19 in his four overs against KXIP. Narine coming good with the bat only adds to KKR's batting strength and with Chris Lynn out of most of the IPL, his batting exploits will come in handy for the Kolkata-based team. Although his fielding left a lot to be desired, Narine is a proven customer with the ball as on numerous occasions he has choked the flow of runs or given a breakthrough at a time his team needed it the most.
It would be interesting to see whether Kolkata continue to gamble with Narine at the top but it surely adds a new dimension to his game that will only go on to cement his place in the side. The next couple of matches will give us a good idea as to how the KKR management is planning to use him.