All-rounder scores unbeaten 40 after an indifferent season to take Kolkata Knight Riders score beyond Delhi Daredevils reach.
Yusuf Pathan rises to the occasion as Kolkata enter IPL final
In a battle between the two leading sides in the regular season, Kolkata came out on top after Delhi could only make 144 for eight in pursuit of a victory target of 163.
Kolkata go through to the final in Chennai on Sunday with this win but Delhi still have a chance of meeting them there as the Daredevils now face the winner of tomorrow night's eliminator between the Mumbai Indians and the Chennai Super Kings.
Having won the toss and opted to bat, Kolkata made 162 for four off their 20 overs with their top three all making good starts without being able to really push on.
Gautam Gambhir raced to 32 off 16 deliveries before he was run out, while overseas stars Brendon McCullum and Jacques Kallis fell for 31 and 30, respectively.
Yusuf Pathan added some valuable late impetus though, striking three fours and two sixes in his 20-ball 40 not out. Yusuf, who has had an inconsistent 2012 in the IPL proved he still had the big-match temperament.
"Always big hopes from me [despite] not performing in the previous games, but I know that I can get going in a big match," the 29-year-old all-rounder said at the post-match ceremony. "I had a lot of time to get in and adjust myself to the track today."
Delhi suffered a blow in their chase when they lost their big-hitting openers David Warner (seven) and Virender Sehwag (10) off successive deliveries at the end of the second over and start of the third.
That left the Daredevils on 24 for two and, despite a third-wicket stand of 59 between Mahela Jayawardene (40) and Naman Ojha (29) they fell short in the end.
Sunil Narine, the Kolkata spinner, again impressed with two for 24 off his four overs, which were the exact same figures as his teammate Kallis.
Gambhir, the captain, was naturally pleased with the outcome especially because the way his bowlers performed.
"Not only Kallis, all of them have bowled very well.
"A lot of credit to all the bowlers including [Lakshmipathy] Balaji, [Iqbal] Abdulla, Narine and others," he said.
"We always felt that it was a 140-145 wicket, but when we got 160, we thought it was an above par score," he added.