In the 2012 IPL auction, Mumbai Indians and Kolkata Knight Riders engaged in an intense bidding war for an unknown mystery spinner from Trinidad and Tobago named Sunil Narine. Kolkata eventually won that battle after submitting a mind-boggling bid of $700,000 (14 times his base price of $50,000).
His awe-inspiring performances in the Champions League T20 had earned him this bid and Narine made sure that the money invested in him does not go in vain. The mystery spinner emerged as one of the most successful bowlers in his debut season as he picked up 24 wickets in 15 matches, which helped KKR win their first ever IPL title.
Narine has not only maintained his consistency with the ball over the years but he has also developed phenomenal batting skills which have transformed him into an all-rounder. However, in this article we will look at the top 3 bowling spells of Sunil Narine in IPL history.
#3 4/19 vs Kings XI Punjab, IPL 2015
In the 44th match of IPL 2015, Kolkata Knight Riders hosted the Kings XI Punjab at the Eden Gardens in what was a rematch of 2014's IPL final. KXIP's skipper George Bailey elected to bat first after winning the toss and his openers got his team off to a perfect start in the powerplay. But, on the second last ball of the 6th over, Sunil Narine cleaned up Murali Vijay to break the opening stand.
Manan Vohra was then joined by wicket-keeper batsman Wriddhiman Saha as both tried to build a partnership, however, in the 11th over Narine sent Vohra back to the pavilion after taking a brilliant return catch. Glenn Maxwell came out next and smacked the KKR bowlers all around the ground.
Punjab looked set for a big total as they were 143/2 at 16.2 overs but in the same over, Sunil Narine dismissed Glenn Maxwell and Wriddhiman Saha to restrict KXIP's total to 183/5.
The match went down as a thriller with KKR winning the match in the end just by 1 wicket. Though Narine had figures of 4/19, Andre Russell was adjudged the man of the match for his 21-ball half-century.
#2 4/13 vs Delhi Capitals, IPL 2013
The opening match of the sixth edition of the IPL saw Kolkata Knight Riders clash with the Delhi Capitals (then Delhi Daredevils). KKR opted to field first after winning the toss and they got off to a solid start as Brett Lee rattled the stumps of Unmukt Chand on the very first ball of the season. However, Mahela Jayawardene and D Warner tried to build a partnership to stable the innings.
Sunil Narine was introduced by Gautam Gambhir in the last over of the powerplay and the mystery spinner delivered by sending David Warner back on the fifth ball of his over. Rajat Bhatia and L Balaji cleaned up the middle order of the opposition before Sunil Narine was recalled to wrap the lower order.
Narine first got rid off Irfan Pathan in the 16th over and then dismissed Andre Russell and Ashish Nehra in the 18th and the 20th over, respectively to end the innings with figures of 4/13. He also won the man of the match award as his bowling helped KKR win the match easily.
#1 5/19 vs Kings XI Punjab, IPL 2012
In the 17th match of the 5th season of IPL, Kolkata Knight Riders hosted Kings XI Punjab for a day-night match. This was the debut season of Sunil Narine and the mystery spinner had impressed everyone with his bowling performances.
The same continued in the match against Kings XI as Narine sent their captain Adam Gilchrist back in the 3rd over of the innings.
He then scalped the wicket of Shaun Marsh in the 5th over to put KXIP in shambles. A middle order partnership between Mandeep Singh and D Hussey brought them back in the game but Narine's 3 wickets in his last 2 overs helped KKR restrict KXIP to 134 in the first innings.
But, the mystery spinner's five-wicket haul went in vain as KKR lost that match by 2 runs in the end.