Destructive McCullum v Wily Narine

Gujarat Lions’ McCullum can be an unstoppable force, but Kolkata Knight Riders’ Sunil Narine, in the IPL, has been an immovable object.

Brendon McCullum’s team-mate Jason Roy outscored him when the duo represented Lahore Qalandars in the recently-concluded Pakistan Super League. But McCullum, who has 2,363 runs in 88 T20 games in India, is likely to open for Gujarat Lions with Aaron Finch, who has scored 375 runs in nine T20 innings this year.

The 73-ball 158 in the league’s first season and a 56-ball 100 in the eighth are showpieces of McCullum’s destructive powers. He can be an unstoppable force. But Sunil Narine, in the IPL, has been an immovable object.

For the first six overs, when the fielders are up and when it’s safest to go for boundaries, Narine, on average, leaks less than six runs an over in the IPL. He’s the league’s most economical bowler during Powerplay. The best of batsmen have tried to attack him and gotten frustrated at their inability to do so. They accumulate dots, when they adopt a defensive strategy. Then, they fall, risking a big-hit. Or he just snares them early. In the game’s rapid-fire form, Narine shackles the batters, frustrates them to give their wicket away.

His unorthodox action, however, has been suspected on several occasions of being illegal. The resultant workings and reworkings of it has affected Narine’s bowling. After his suspension in November 2015, Narine’s economy rate has raised to 6.82 from 5.52.

But the Trinidadian has shone the most in the IPL. In T20s this year, he has 23 wickets in 18 games, and would be an impediment to the Lions’ charge.

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