Delhi Daredevils' [ Images ] play-off hopes suffered a jolt as Kochi Tuskers Kerala [ Images ] snapped their three-match losing streak by thrashing the hosts by seven wickets in their Indian Premier League [ Images ] match in New Delhi on Monday.
Daredevils' middle-order let them down yet again as the hosts just about managed to score a modest 140 for six after being invited to bat at the Feroze Shah Kotla ground.
In reply, Tuskers overhauled the target in just 15 overs with Parthiv Patel [ Images ] scoring an unbeaten 37, thus avenging their defeat at the hands of the same team on Saturday.
Kochi, who were languishing at ninth place in the points table, have now moved up to sixth, while Delhi slipped to eighth.
Delhi had revived their campaign with a win over Tuskers at their den but today's defeat means they will have to win perhaps all the remaining five matches to qualify for the play-offs.
With Brendon McCullum [ Images ] (37 off 19) in full flow, Kochi raced to 53 in just four overs and the Kiwi, with his opening partner Michael Klinger (18), put on 61 runs off just 5.1 overs to give his side a flying start.
After smashing Morne Morkel [ Images ] for three fours in the second over, the Kiwi batsman clobbered Umesh Yadav's first over for 23 runs as he hit the Delhi paceman for two sixes and as many fours.
Klinger joined the party by reeling two boundaries off Irfan Pathan [ Images ] but Morkel returned for his second spell to dismiss McCullum in the first ball.
Trying to hit Morkel out of the park, McCullum went for a pull but mis-timed the shot and the ball landed in the hands of Yadav at mid-on.
Klinger joined his opening partner in the dugout with Roelof van der Merwe [ Images ] trapping him in the very first ball of his spell.
But by that time, Kochi had put on 71 runs and the stage was set for an easy win.
Patel and Hodge then played sensibly and steered the side to easy win with their 52-run unconquered fourth-wicket partnership.
Patel's knock came off 31 balls and had five boundaries in it while Hodge scored 24 off 13 and hit three shots to the fence.
Earlier Delhi's middle-order, like in their previous matches, struggled after the early dismissals of openers Virender Sehwag [ Images ] (15) and David Warner (13).
Venugopal Rao [ Images ] top scored for the hosts with a 40-run knock, which came off 36 balls, while Travis Birt smashed a quick-fire 27 towards the end.
The wicket was lively, giving some help to the pacemen, but it was good for stroke-making too, and Delhi batsmen have only themselves to blame for not putting up a challenging total.
Prasanth Parameswaran (2/29), playing his first game, and R Vinay Kumar (2/25) shared four wickets between them.
Delhi had lost their first three wickets by the seventh over after being sent in to bat. After that, Venugopal and Yogesh Nagar (18) raised a 54-run partnership but consumed 8.3 overs to score those runs and worse, could not provide the fireworks towards the end.
Kochi knew the value of Sehwag's wicket and Prasanth got them the prized scalp.
Sehawg had sounded the alarm bells for Kochi by hitting RP Singh [ Images ] for two fours in the opening over and then, clobbered Prasanth for a huge six, but the visitors heaved a sigh of relief when the Delhi marauder edged one off Prasanth to keeper Parthiv Patel.
Naman Ojha [ Images ] then treated Prasanth with utter contempt, lofting him for a six and a four.
In Sehwag's absence Delhi needed Warner to anchor the innings but he too departed when his miscued pull off S Sreesanth [ Images ] went straight to R Vinay Kumar at mid-on.
Jayawardene then brought RP Singh back and the laft-arm paceman responded with the wicket of Ojha (13).
Venugopal and Nagar dug in but the run-rate suffered and there was a time when not a single boundary was scored for 17 balls.
Rao hit Raipihi Gomez for a four in the 10th over as Delhi reached 62 for three at half-way mark.
Nagar got his first boundary in a bizarre, rather funny, fashion. Vinay Kumar tried a slower one but the ball popped out of his hand and bounced twice. A confused Nagar, who reached the middle of the pitch by then, hit that to mid-wicket boundary.
Runs were coming only through ones and twos and Delhi needed the duo to stay till the end, but it was not to be as as Nagar fell to Vinay Kumar and Venugopal became Prasanth's second victim.