Narine fireworks help take KKR top

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JAIPUR, India (CMC) – Sunil Narine missed out with the ball but cashed in with the bat, as he helped Kolkata Knight Riders climb to the top of the Indian Premier League standings with a seven-wicket win over Rajasthan Royals on Wednesday.
Asked to chase 161 for victory at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium, KKR reached their target in the seven balls remaining, to join unbeaten Sunrisers Hyderabad on six points but top the table courtesy of a superior net run rate.
Robin Uthappa top-scored with 48 from 36 deliveries while skipper Dinesh Karthik chipped in with an unbeaten 42 from 23 balls.
The left-handed Narine, utilised at the top of the order, punched a breezy 35 from 25 deliveries.
Australian Chris Lynn fell without scoring to the third ball of the innings with a single run on the board but Narine and Uthappa put on 69 to repair the damage.
Uthappa counted six fours and a pair of sixes while Narine struck five fours and a six before becoming the second wicket to fall in the ninth over, run out after failing to regain his ground after exploring a sharp single to short third man.
Karthik and Nitish Rana (35 not out) steered KKR over the line in an unbroken 61-run fourth wicket partnership.
Opting to bowl first earlier, KKR held Royals to 160 for eight off their 20 overs, with Australian D’Arcy Short top-scoring with 44 and captain Ajinkya Rahane getting 36.
The pair posted 54 for the first wicket but once they were separated, the innings regressed slowly as only England’s Jos Buttler thereafter passed 20 with 24.
Narine went wicket-less from his four overs which leaked 48 runs but fellow off-spinner Nitish Rana (2-11) and England fast bowler Tom Curran (2-19) spearheaded the KKR attack with two wickets apiece.

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