After squeezing into the Indian Premier League play-offs, Kolkata Knight Riders had to come out with a mission when they took the field in the Eliminator against Royal Challengers Bangalore on Monday, October 11, 2021.
And just when Eoin Morgan's team needed a performance of quality, Sunil Narine put his hands up and delivered for the former champions.
Narine has been underwhelming this season, but came up trumps when needed the most. Not only did he make his performance count by taking his team a step further, he played party pooper to any plans that Virat Kohli harboured of winning an IPL title.
That Kohli decided to bat on a slow track was surprising, but like Morgan said at the toss that he'd bowl either way only ensured that their plans were on track.
RCB got off to a flyer, scoring 53 runs in the Powerplay overs, but once opener Devdutt Padikkal was dismissed by Lockie Ferguson in the 6th over, RCB just couldn't get back their rhythm.
Both Kohli, and Srikar Bharat found the going tough with no boundaries coming from the time of Padikkal's dismissal.
With no big runs coming at either end, the pressure was mounting and something had to give.
When Narine was called up to bowl and just three singles came off the over, a desperate Bharat was foxed into the loopy ball which he played straight down the ground, couldn't find the distance and he was caught at long on.
This started the rot and although Glenn Maxwell and Kohli zipped across the pitch, the boundaries came few and far between and that coupled with Narine's accuracy it made things only more difficult as Kohli was then bowled through his defences for 39 off 33 balls.
A B de Villiers then came in to bat and got warmed up with a four, but his stint at the crease ended as he was bowled by Narine. RCB were 102/4 in the 15th over.
Narine then had Maxwell slice the ball to short third man to leave RCB struggling at 112-5.
Shahbaz Ahmed put on a fightback of sorts, but was dismissed in the 19th over by Ferguson. RCB eventually posted 138-7 in their 20 overs, failing to hit a single six in the innings.
Narine's figures of 4-21 helped KKR take an upper hand. Anything under 140 in the IPL is always good for the chasing team, and KKR eventually won with two balls to spare.