Ravindra Jadeja produced a brilliant spell of spin bowling that saw him return figures of 4/12, after Brendon McCullum's sizzling half-century powered CSK to a daunting 148 for three. Mohit Sharma, too, bowled well bagging 3/22 for CSK.
In a match that was reduced to 17 overs per side after rain delayed the start by an hour and 40 minutes, CSK dominated throughout to post their fifth straight win in six outings. This was the Knight Riders' fourth loss after having started the first leg in the UAE with a bang.
McCullum pulverised the Knight Riders attack during a 40-ball 56, which contained five boundaries and two sixes, before Mahendra Singh Dhoni (22) and Jadeja (17) upped the ante in the final overs.
The CSK bowlers, led by Jadeja, then combined to leave KKR gasping for breath at 38 for four in the sixth over.
Robin Uthappa top-scored for KKR with a 38-ball 47, while Yusuf Pathan made a 28-ball 41 with the help of four sixes and a four.
To start with, in their chase, Kolkata were off with a flurry of boundaries, with most them coming from the blade of Uthappa, who hit Ishwar Pandey for two successive fours.
Sharma gave away 15 runs in his first over as Uthappa collected two more boundaries off the pacer.
Gambhir was out after a confusion with his opening partner Uthappa. Hilfenhaus collected the throw from Dhoni and
underarmed it to the stumps at the non-striker's end as the
batsman failed to get back in time.
Kallis fell to an innocuous Ravichandran Aswhin delivery after he swept uppishly to the deep backward square leg fielder.
Manish Pandey was next to get out as he lobbed Jadeja's first ball into covers. Sharma then pulled off a good catch diving forward to send back Shakib Al Hasan and give Jadeja his second wicket.
Uthappa continued to bat freely, cutting Pandey through point after picking a boundary off Suresh Raina. From 38 for four, it became 65 for five, when Jadeja got Suryakumar Yadav plumbed in front.
With the required rate heading north with each delivery, it was as good as over when Jadeja had Uthappa caught behind after the batsman had hit five fours and a six. Sharma came back to add to his tally of wickets.
Earlier, McCullum shone with an enterprising knock.
Opting to bat, the two-time former champions raced away to 20 before Shakib Al Hasan, who opened the bowling for Knight Riders, dismissed Dwayne Smith in the third bowl of the third over.
Going for a sweep, Smith, after kick-starting the innings with a boundary, missed the line to be trapped in front of the wicket for a 11-ball 16 at the JSCA International Stadium Complex.
McCullum, however, carried on and pulled R Vinay Kumar with utter contempt over the deep midwicket fence for a maximum.
Another short one from Piyush Chawla was dispatched over the on side for a boundary by McCullum.
KKR bowlers, especially Vinay Kumar, was guilty of bowling too short and McCullum took full advantage pulling him for two more fours. Suresh Raina, meanwhile, was content playing the second fiddle to the New Zealander, before he lofted Chawla straight down the pitch for a massive six.
Using his wrists, the left-handed batsman found the gap between deep midwicket and long on for another four, before driving Shakib through the covers.
However, a waist-height full toss from Shakib did the trick for KKR with Raina holing out at long on in the 11th over, even as CSK inched towards 100. Rain faced 25 balls for his knock, which had four boundaries and a six.
Jacques Kallis was introduced in the 12th over and he was greeted with a six by McCullum, which also brought up his fifty.
But Andre Russell got the burly Kiwi batsman after he had him caught at deep point in his very first over, leaving skipper Dhoni to do the hitting in the innings' final over that fetched 15 runs.