Images from the Indian Premier League 'Eliminator' between Royal Challengers Bangalore and Kolkata Knight Riders, in Sharjah, on Monday.
Sunil Narine gave glimpses of his 'old mystery' with the ball and then topped it up with three monster sixes as Kolkata Knight Riders beat Royal Challengers Bangalore by four wickets in the Indian Premier League ‘Eliminator’ in Sharjah, on Monday.
The defeat dashed Virat Kohli's dream of winning the IPL while leading the Bangalore franchise.
The Knight Riders will now meet Delhi Capitals, who lost to Chennai Super Kings in ‘Qualifier 1’ in the second Qualifier on Wednesday to decide CSK’s opponents for the title clash on October 15.
Narine, who had to remodel his action after coming under the scanner due to a suspect action multiple times, singlehandedly "eliminated" the Royal Challengers with bowling figures of 4 for 21.
He then produced a crucial 26-run knock off 15 balls that made a tricky chase of 139 slightly easier in the end.
The Knight Riders got home with two balls to spare.
Kohli, who captained the Royal Challengers for the last time, did make a contentious decision by opting to bat on a sluggish surface which also offered turn.
Narine exploited the offering of a track to his liking to return figures of 4 for 21.
Defending the low total was never going to be easy for RCB. Save Harshal Patel's all-time highest-wicket tally, in a single edition, of 32, they had nothing to write home about as another season that started with a bang ended in a whimper.
Once again, captain Kohli's inability to win pressure matches and big-ticket tournaments was confirmed by KKR's spinners, who were successful in tying the batters in knots.
Not to forget the skipper not being at his best during middle overs in any of the games.
KKR's chase could have been a bit dicey but Narine just chanced his arms in the 12th over to muscle Dan Cristian for three sixes, which proved to be decisive in the end.
Earlier, Narine showed glimpses of his vintage past with a magical spell that fetched him four wickets as Kolkata Knight Riders restricted Royal Challengers Bangalore to a below-par 138 for 7.
Narine dismissed the Royal Challengers’ big three -- Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers and Glenn Maxwell – to finish with impressive figures of 4 for 21.
With Varun Chakravarthy (0-20) not conceding a single boundary and Shakib Al Hasan (0-24 in) also keeping the batters on a tight leash, the Knight Riders’ spin troika conceded just 65 runs, including four boundaries, from their 12 overs.
Devdutt Padikkal (21 off 18 balls) and skipper Virat Kohli (39 off 33 balls) gave the Royal Challengers a good start, putting up 49 runs in the first five Powerplay overs, after Eoin Morgan started with the left-arm spin of Shakib.
The opening duo attacked an under-pressure Shivam Mavi, scoring as many as five boundaries in those first few overs.
However, Lockie Ferguson (2-30) broke the partnership, his extra pace off the first delivery of the sixth over proving too hot for Padikkal.
The left-hand batter, trying to cut, inside-edged a delivery pitched well outside off onto his stumps.
The Royal Challengers were 49 for 1.
Srikar Bharat, the hero of RCB's last league match against Dehi Capitals, was clearly troubled by the lack of pace from the track as the spinners got the ball to grip off the surface. He failed to get going before he was foxed by a delivery from Narine and caught by Venkatesh Iyer for 9 off 15 balls.
He was Narine's first of four victims after he lofted the spinner over long-off but was unable to get to the pitch of the delivery and holed out in the deep.
Kohli, who had a good start like in most of the matches this season, lost the momentum post the Powerplay overs with the field spread.
The shot that got him out had desperation writ large over it as the slog-sweep to a fuller delivery from Narine was never on. The result was a pegged back leg-stump, which reduced the Royal Challengers to 88 for 3 in the 13th over.
AB de Villiers (11) was out to a real beauty from Narine. A classical off-break went through the gate to embarrass the legendary Proteas batter.
RCB's best player of the season Maxwell (15) was supposed to have a bad day as per the 'Law of Averages' and it did catch up with him trying to slog-sweep Narine's off-spin delivery which ballooned to short third-man to make it a dream day for the Trinidadian spin ace.
With the big hitters back in the dug-out the Royal Challengers struggled to get some big hits and had to settle with 138 in the end.