Ranchi: Spinner Sunil Narine proved to be the stand-out performer with a four-wicket haul as Kolkata Knight Riders defeated Royal Challengers Bangalore by five wickets here on Sunday to keep alive their faint hopes of reaching the play-offs stage of the Pepsi Indian Premier League.
Opting to field, KKR restricted RCB to 115 for nine, and then chased down the modest target with four balls to spare at the JSCA International Stadium Complex.
Narine finished with impressive figures of four for 22 off his four overs and there were two wickets apiece for Jacques Kallis and Lakshmipathy Balaji.
Kallis also top-scored for the `hosts`, playing a responsible knock of 41 off 45 balls. Manoj Tiwary made 24 off 27 balls.
After doing a good job with the ball, KKR were dealt an early blow as Manvinder Bisla was sent back by Ravi Rampaul in their innings` first over.
Gambhir and Kallis steadied KKR with a 31-run partnership for the second wicket.
Playing according to the situation, the two experienced pros relied on the ones and twos, besides hitting boundaries occasionally.
In the fourth over bowled by Abhimanyu Mithun, the KKR skipper scored three successive fours -- all through the off-side, with the first one almost going all the way for a maximum.
However, what was turning out to be a promising stand, was cut short as R Vinay Kumar induced a thick outside edge off the blade of Gambhir for Chris Gayle, the lone slip fielder, to pounce on to the offering.
Yusuf Pathan arrived, and straightaway got into the groove, hitting Murali Kartik`s tossed up delivery for a massive six over long-on.
The all-rounder from Baroda then guided Jaydev Unadkat for a boundary with an upper cut.
But, as had been the case in the past, Pathan again got out after getting a start, trapped in front while going for a sweep shot against Kartik.
Kallis was going steady at the other end, helping the hosts close in on the target. The South African veteran though, got out with KKR 20 short of pulling off a win.
After hitting Mithun for two fours in as many balls, Kallis, to KKR`s fans` dismay, played one towards Moises Henriques who back pedalled to complete an easy catch.
Tiwary followed Kallis as the batsman played Vinay Kumar towards cover for Virat Kohli to pull off a difficult catch.
Needing five off the last over, Ryan ten Doeschate sealed the issue in KKR`s favour with a boundary.
Earlier, on a slow wicket, RCB struggled to score freely.
Chris Gayle found the going tough, hitting just one four and a six for his 33, before being stumped off Narine`s bowling.
AB de Villiers was the next best scorer with a 22-ball 28. Attempting a reverse sweep off Balaji immediately after hitting the paceman for a six in the 16th over, the South African found a faint edge and Bisla took a well-judged catch.
Apart form Gayle, Narine accounted for the wickets of Saurabh Tiwary (1), Rampaul (0) and Mithun (2).
Gambhir began with spinner Sachitra Senanayake and Balaji and the two bowlers provided a superb start by giving away just 16 runs in the first five overs. Senanayake dismissed Cheteshwar Pujara in the fifth over and Gayle was also subdued.
Narine and Kallis were introduced into the attack and they were successful in keeping Gayle and Virat Kohli quiet.
The runs came in ones and twos with KKR bowlers not allowing the batsmen to swing their arms freely.
Kohli and Gayle smashed ten Doeschate for 14 runs for RCB`s best over. Kallis then dealt RCB a blow when he bowled Kohli, who dragged one back on to his stumps, as Bangalore managed just 54 for two in 10 overs.
The story remained the same in the next 10 overs and whenever the batsmen tried to cut loose, they only ended up losing their wickets.