Sunil Narine took four wickets and smashed 26 from 15 balls to secure Kolkata Knight Riders’ IPL Eliminator victory over Royal Challengers Bangalore; KKR take on Delhi Capitals on Wednesday, live on Sky Sports Cricket from 2.50pm, to decide who will face Chennai Super Kings in the final
By Ben Kosky
Last Updated: 11/10/21 7:00pm
Sunil Narine starred with bat and ball as Kolkata Knight Riders squeezed past Royal Challengers Bangalore by four wickets in a low-scoring IPL Eliminator in Sharjah.
The KKR off-spinner returned 4-21 – his best figures of the tournament – to rip through RCB’s middle order and restrict them to 139-7 in 20 overs.
Although the Knight Riders seemed to be making heavy weather of the chase, Narine then strode to the wicket and belted three consecutive sixes off Dan Christian to nudge them towards victory with a knock of 26 from 15 balls.
Eoin Morgan’s men eventually triumphed with two balls to spare and they now face Delhi Capitals on Wednesday for a place in the final, while Virat Kohli steps down as Bangalore captain with his hopes of overseeing a maiden IPL title success extinguished.
Kohli’s decision to bat after winning the toss initially looked a sound one as he and Devdutt Padikkal put on 49 in the first five overs, running well between the wickets and dispatching loose balls to the boundary.
But Padikkal (21 from 18) dragged Lockie Ferguson onto his stumps and Bangalore ground to a virtual halt as they struggled to get spinners Shakib Al Hasan and Varun Chakravarthy away on a sluggish surface.
Narine then took centre stage, persuading Srikar Bharat to drive into the hands of long-off before picking up the prize wickets of Kohli (39 from 33) and AB de Villiers (11), both bowled failing to pick the wily off-spinner.
Glenn Maxwell (15) at least ended the dearth of boundaries, reverse sweeping Shakib for the first four in almost six overs – but he too fell victim to Narine, hitting against the spin and spearing to third man.
RCB eventually stuttered to 139-7, with Ferguson returning 2-30 – and also recovering his own fumble to run out Christian by some distance as he attempted an ambitious second.
The first half of the match passed without any sixes being struck, but KKR’s Venkatesh Iyer took only six balls of the reply to remedy that deficiency, hooking George Garton over the long leg fence.
The left-armer also took some punishment from Shubman Gill (29 from 18), who struck him for three successive boundaries – the last of those of an inside edge that whistled just past his leg stump.
Harshal Patel made the breakthrough, sending down a slower ball that Gill skied to mid-on and the Knight Riders soon lost their second wicket, with Yuzvendra Chahal successfully reviewing when his lbw shout against Rahul Tripathi was turned down.
Harshal, the tournament’s leading wicket-taker with 32, put in another impressive display to finish with 2-19, keeping RCB in contention by having Iyer (26 from 30) caught down the leg side with 60 still needed.
Narine announced his arrival at the crease with a trio of colossal blows into the stand and looked set to usher KKR over the line before he lost his off stump to Mohammed Siraj (2-19) and became the seamer’s 100th IPL victim.
Dinesh Karthik (10) followed two balls later, but Morgan and Shakib withstood the pressure to scramble the remaining runs and keep the Knight Riders’ hopes of a first title since 2014 intact.
Watch the IPL Qualifier between Delhi Capitals and Kolkata Knight Riders live on Sky Sports Cricket, from 2.50pm on Wednesday.