Kolkata Knight Riders continued their remarkable second-half ascent in IPL 2021 to book their spot in the second qualifier against Delhi Capitals.
They sent Royal Challengers Bangalore packing in a tense eliminator with four wickets and two deliveries to spare at the Sharjah stadium on Monday.
Kolkata had their noses in front for most of the game after restricting Bangalore to 138-7.
Knight Riders all-rounder Sunil Narine was their hero on the night. He returned with 4-21 from four overs and smashed a 15-ball 26 that included three towering sixes.
However, Mohammed Siraj provided a double blow by sending Narine and Dinesh Karthik (10) back in the space of three deliveries before Eoin Morgan and Shakib Al Hasan took them over the line.
Bangalore captain Virat Kohli thus endured defeat in his final match as Royal Challengers captain. He had earlier announced that this season would be his last as leader of the team.
Earlier, Kohli (39) and Devdutt Padikkal (21) gave Bangalore a sound start with a 49-run stand in 31 balls before Lockie Ferguson, who went for 12 in his first over, removed the latter with the first delivery of his second over.
Srikar Bharat (9) fell at 69, the first of Narine’s four victims. The West Indies spinner then took the prized wicket of Kohli, knocking off his leg stump, to leave Bangalore at 88-3 in the 13th over.
Kolkata opener Shubman Gill, who hit an 18-ball 29 in a first wicket stand of 41 off 32 deliveries with Venkatesh Iyer (26), was upbeat after the win and said his team holds the edge in the second qualifier at the same venue.
“Delhi are a really balanced team as we see it. This was our third match here, and coming again day after tomorrow, we know what to expect from the wicket," Gill said.
“I think we would have an edge over Delhi. The first powerplay was totally against us, but the way Sunny [Narine] and Varun bowled, we kept building the pressure on them.”
Kohli conceded it was the quality of bowling rather than batting that cost them.
“Their spinners dominated the game in the middle overs,” the Bangalore captain said.
“They kept taking wickets there. We had a great start and probably should've tried to build on. It was more about quality bowling instead of poor batting.”