Sunil Narine took four wickets and chipped in with a handy cameo to book the Kolkata Knight Riders' (KKR) berth in the second Qualifier of IPL 2021 against the Delhi Capitals and end Virat Kohli's reign as Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) skipper in defeat in Sharjah on Monday.
Chasing a below-par target of 139 runs, openers Shubman Gill (29 from 18) failed to convert his quick start into a big score, falling to Harshal Patel for RCB's first breakthorugh in the powerplay.
Yuzvendra Chahal then struck to dismiss Rahul Tripathi (6 from 5) before Patel added to his league-leading wicket-taking tally by dismissing a sluggish Venkatesh Iyer (26 from 30).
However, Narine smashed three consecutive sixes off a Dan Christian over that yeilded 20 runs to turn the tide back in KKR's favour. The 33-year-old Trinidadian, adjudged player-of-the-match, was well supported at the other end by Nitish Rana (23 from 25) as the two added 31 runs for the fourth wicket to put KKR in a strong position.
However, RCB clawed their way back into the game as Chahal removed Rana before Mohammed Siraj dismissed Narine (26 from 15) and Dinesh Karthik (10 from 12) in the same over to reach 50 IPL wickets and keep the game alive.
But Shakib al Hasan (9 from 6) and Eoin Morgan (5 from 7) kept their nerves and got KKR over the line.
Earlier, Narine (4/21) sent RCB's biggest guns back in the dug-out as Kohli, AB de Villiers and Glenn Maxwell had no answer to his turning deliveries under pressure situation.
With Varun Chakravarthy (0/20) not conceding a single boundary and Shakib Al Hasan (0/24 in) also keeping the batsmen on a tight leash, the KKR's spin troika gave away only 65 runs with four boundaries in 12 overs.
This was the second consecutive game that RCB failed to score a single six against KKR. The two-time champions will now face the Delhi Capitals in the second Qualifier at the same venue on Wednesday to vie for the second final berth against the Chennai Super Kings on Friday.