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In Narine-Salt, KKR have cooked up a spicier version of Narine-Lynn

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Last updated on 26 Apr 2024 | 04:51 PM
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In Narine-Salt, KKR have cooked up a spicier version of Narine-Lynn

For the second time in seven years, KKR have managed to catch lightning in a bottle

Remember the time when Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) decided to open with Sunil Narine (Yes, Sunil Narine !!!) and Chris Lynn?

Boy, you just had to be there. It was a one-of-a-kind tactical move that, for a while, made KKR the most fun, entertaining, and watchable sports team in the entire world. 

Here you had two blokes who wanted to do nothing but smash the leather off the ball. They put zero value on their wicket and that made for such good viewing. They broke all sorts of strike rate records and even once scored 100 runs inside the powerplay. 

With these two, KKR somehow managed to catch lightning in a bottle. 

Not sure how it’s happened, but, seven years on, the Knight Riders have somehow managed to BETTER their Narine-Lynn creation.

They’ve done it by resurrecting Narine — making his 2.0 opener version a far better one than the one in 2017 — and then pairing him with a far more destructive version of Lynn, in the form of Phil Salt

Essentially, Narine of 2017 on 'roids + Lynn of 2017 on 'roids = Narine & Salt of 2024. 

Eight games into IPL 2024, Narine & Salt have added 406 runs together, which is 69 more than what Narine & Lynn managed together in their *best season together*.  And these two have done so while striking at 206 (!!!). 

It’s very common for batting pairs to average 50 batting together. It’s rare for a partnership to strike at over 200 but duos that average around 20-30 do strike at over 200 sometimes. 

It’s almost unprecedented for a batting pair to average over 50 and strike at over 200. Only three batting pairs have ever managed this feat in T20 history, and Narine-Salt are one of them. 

KKR have somehow managed to catch lightning in a bottle, AGAIN!

And it’s come as a bolt from the blue (pun intended).

Two weeks before the season began, Narine was an ex-opener who had almost forgotten how to bat. Salt, meanwhile, was a freelancer who didn’t even have an IPL contract. 

This was not KKR’s first-choice opening pair before the season began. But Chandrakant Pandit and Gautam Gambhir sat together, improvised and somehow ended up cooking one of the spiciest opening pairs in IPL history.

It couldn’t have come at a better time for the Knight Riders, who were struggling when it came to openers for the best part of four seasons. Across IPL 2020, 2021, 2022 & 2023, KKR had both the worst average (25.8) and strike rate (122.3) when it came to opening stands. 

Out of nowhere, the Knight Riders have gone from that to having the second-most feared partnership in the entire league. 

Much like what Travis Head and Abhishek Sharma have done for Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH), Narine and Salt have completely elevated KKR’s batting to a whole different level. They’ve put the fear of god in the bowling side from ball one and have helped the side hit heights with the bat they never had in their 16-year history.

Prior to IPL 2024, KKR had scored more than 225 only twice in their history. Eight games into IPL 2024, the Knight Riders have already crossed 260 twice and have posted the third-highest total in the competition’s history.

The impact player rule and flat wickets have played their part, yes, but make no mistake, that this team is now one of the most destructive batting units in the tournament is almost entirely down to the revolution up in the order brought in by Narine and Salt. 

Eight innings together. Four 50+ run stands. All the aforementioned 50+ run stands coming at a strike rate over 200.

Teams have frozen, lost for answers, when these two batters have switched it on. It’s what happened to Punjab Kings on April 26 (Friday) as Salt and Narine added 138 in 62 balls to set up a 261-run onslaught in the first innings. 

Here’s the thing, though: Punjab weren’t the first team to be at the receiving end of the Narine-Salt ambush. And certainly won’t be the last. 

Partnerships like these don’t usually last long. They are generally there for a good time but not a long time.

So fasten your seatbelt and enjoy the ride till it lasts.

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