Sunil Narine, KKR, IPL 2017, playoffs, Mumbai Indians
Sunil Narine will hope to open the innings for KKRIANS

KKR easily bested Rajasthan in their last match and consequently moved to the top of the points table. Rajasthan had been restricted to 139 in their quota of 20 overs courtesy some fine slow bowling by the KKR spinners namely, Kuldeep Yadav, Sunil Narine and Piyush Chawla. Harry Gurney, who made his IPL debut was also impressive and was adjudged the man of the match for his efforts that fetched him 2-25 in four overs.

Coming out to chase the total, KKR was off to a flying start courtesy the big-hitting of Sunil Narine who smashed Krishnappa Gowtham for 22 runs off his first over. During this time, Steve Smith was talking to the commentators from the field of play and he did not seem too pleased or in sync with his captain Ajinkya Rahane's decision to hand the ball to Gowtham in just the second over of the run chase.

Steve Smith Rajasthan Royals
Smith did not like the idea of bowling Gowtham to Narine in the powerplay.Hotstar Screengrab

"The spinner, I thought, just bowled too straight," said Smith to Simon Doull during the third over of the innings when Jofra Archer was bowling. Brett Lee then asked Smith whether he would have preferred attacking Narine with Archer's pace and bounce instead of Gowtham's spin. To this, Smith replied, "Not sure, that's a question for Ajinkya [Rahane] I'd say. But he [Narine] sort of comes at it from ball one. I thought the spin over the wicket wasn't a great move as it was taking the stumps out of play."

Narine has a fantastic record against spinners in the powerplay since he reinvented himself as an opening batsman in the IPL. Here's the list of bowlers he's taken to the cleaners over the last couple of years.

  • 18 runs off Samuel Badree against RCB in Kolkata – April 23, 2017
  • 25 runs off Samuel Badree against RCB in Bangalore – May 7, 2017
  • 21 runs off Krishnappa Gowtham against RR in Kolkata – May 15, 2018
  • 25 runs off Varun Chakravarthy against KXIP in Kolkata – March 27, 2019
Rajasthan Royals
Rahane will be heavily dependent on his team's English recruits Stokes and Buttler.Rajasthan Royals Instagram

Thus, it was understandable why Smith did not seem happy with the choice of the bowler as it basically gave KKR the start they had desired. The 22-run over following the 10-run first over broke the back of the chase and ensured KKR romped home to 140 within 14 overs.

Earlier in the day, Smith had top-scored for Rajasthan with 73 runs off 59 balls but that was not enough to help his team. Rajasthan Royals are now second last on the points table and will take on Chennai Super Kings next on April 11. Meanwhile, KKR will also play CSK in their next match which will be held at the MA Chidambaram Stadium on April 9.