The 19-year-old twice turned the game around at Kolkata’s home Eden Gardens when it seemed Hyderabad — who eventually won by 14 runs — could crash out of the competition.
Khan smashed 34 runs off 10 balls at the end of the innings, with four sixes and two fours, to guide Hyderabad to 174 for seven off their 20 overs.
As Kolkata hit easy runs, the Afghan then claimed the vital wickets of Chris Lynn, who made 48 off 31 balls, Andre Russell and Robin Uthappa as the home side finally spluttered to 160-9.
Khan also took two catches on the boundary in straight balls in the final over to cap his spectacular night. He went on to devote his man-of-the-match award to the eight people killed and 45 wounded by a bomb attack on a cricket stadium in his home city of Jalalabad last Saturday.
“I want to honour them, we must not forget them,” said Khan after the tense game which Hyderabad captain Kane Williamson said had “ebbed and flowed” throughout and could have been won by either side.
“It could have gone either way, there were a lot of crunch moments. As a team we fight to the last ball and we showed that today.”
Hyderabad, who won the title in 2016, will now play Chennai Super Kings in Sunday’s final of the world’s richest Twenty20 contest.
Chennai beat Hyderabad this week to reach the Mumbai final and condemn the Sunrisers into a second exhausting qualifier to claim their place.
– Vital blows –
Shikhar Dhawan and Wriddhiman Saha took Hyderabad to a comfortable 56-0 off seven overs when Kolkata’s Kuldeep Yadav made two devastating strikes in his first four balls.
With his first ball Yadav took Dhawan leg before for 34. The spinner then took Hyderabad’s big-scoring New Zealand captain Williamson for just three.
When Kolkata captain Dinesh Karthik stumped Saha off Piyush Chawla for 35 in the 11th over, Hyderabad looked short of batting power.
Bangladesh captain Shakib al Hasan (28) went to a freak shot by his batting partner Deepak Hooda who smashed the ball straight to the opposing stumps off Yadav’s hand. Hasan was well out of his ground.
Hooda was caught for 19 making a risky reverse sweep off West Indies spinner Sunil Narine. Carlos Brathwaite hit a big six before he was run out by a brilliant Nitish Rana throw from the boundary.
Khan’s swashbuckling display, hitting 24 off the final over, reinforced his reputation as one of the hottest properties in cricket.
Sunil Narine made 26 off 13 balls and Nitesh Rana 22 off as Kolkata immediately went for runs.
Australian Lynn hit two sixes and six fours before he fell lbw trying to sweep Khan.
Kolkata could still have won but Khan tore through the Kolkata middle order to orchestrate the stunning win. Uthappa made only two and Russell three.
“He was brilliant,” Williamson said of man-of-the-match Khan. “But he has another match to go so we are going to keep him under wraps.”