KOLKATA: Kings XI Punjab pacer Ishant Sharma said they were surprised to see Sunil Narine open the innings and set up the eight-wicket win for Kolkata Knight Riders in IPL last night. "We were quite surprised. We did not know how he would bat. We were thinking about Robin Uthappa. When you see Narine, you did not know what's going to happen," Sharma said at the post-match news conference.
Chasing a tricky 171, KKR, who were missing Chris Lynn, gave the chance to 'mystery spinner' Narine atop the order and the Trinidadian blasted a whirlwind 18-ball 37 as KKR posted their highest Powerplay score of 76.
KXIP got the hint during the innings break when Narine was seen with pads at the dug-out. "We could make out seeing him in the dug-out. Maxi (Maxwell) told us that his go-to shot was the slog over the midwicket. So if we keep hitting the back of a length on his body. It's very difficult as he's a bowler, not a batsman," Sharma said.
Sharma further said there was a lot of dew but added they were helpless with Narine and Gambhir setting up the chase brilliantly. "With dew, the ball was coming nicely on to the bat. But if you give away 76 runs in six overs, I don't think you can win even if you scored 200," he said.
"Dew was affecting too much. The spinners could not grip the ball and it was skidding nicely on to the bat. I think it was very difficult, in this format you need to have variations.
"Mohit was trying to bowl bouncers and it was coming nicely and not stopping from the wicket. The dew played a big role," he added.
On the relaid wicket, Sharma said: "When I played, first three years it was pretty slow. Now there's a bit of carrying from the wicket. It's good for fast bowlers. You hardly get these kinds of wickets in India."