In one of the most dramatic turnarounds in the history of the Indian Premier League, Rajasthan Royals rallied from the brink of defeat to score a 10-run victory over Kolkata Knight Riders courtesy of a hat-trick from veteran Pravin Tambe and a three-wicket burst from Shane Watson.
Chasing a target of 171, Kolkata were 121 for no loss, with Gautam Gambhir (54) and Robin Uthappa (65) cruising, before losing an incredible six wickets for the addition of two runs in the space of nine deliveries.
Watson (3/21) and Tambe (3/26) scripted a remarkable collapse which the jam-packed Motera will remember for a long time to come.
The Shah Rukh Khan co-owned outfit never recovered from those telling blows and finished with 160 for six in the stipulated 20 overs.
It was their fifth defeat in the tournament, while Rajasthan registered their fifth victory from seven games to stay third with 10 points.
It was complete harakiri by the KKR batsmen; some mindless batting saw them snatch defeat from the cusp of victory.
Watson started the turnaround at the start of the 15th over. Gambhir tried to loft him over extra-cover but only got a thickish edge, which was pouched by wicketkeeper Sanju Samson.
Two balls later, Uthappa, who was in a belligerent mood, flicked one straight down Rajat Bhatia's throat at deep mid-wicket and Andre Russell was bowled off the last ball for the third wicket of the over.
Suddenly from 121 for no loss, KKR slumped to 122 for three, but the drama was far from over.
The 43-year-old Tambe then pulled a rabbit out of the hat as he first bowled a leg side wide which beat Manish Pandey (0), who came out and was stumped down the leg side.
Yusuf Pathan then offered a simple return catch to Tambe. The veteran leg-spinner completed his hat-trick when he trapped Ryan ten Doeschate (0) leg before wicket to leave KKR in tatters at 123 for six.
Watson kept his cool as he bowled a brilliant final over when 17 runs were required, giving away only six runs.
However, till the 14th over, it looked like a walk in the park for the Knights.
Opener Uthappa was in punishing mood while skipper Gambhir complemented him with a well-crafted half-century as the duo laid the foundation of what looked an imminent comprehensive victory with a 121-run opening stand.
Uthappa's innings was laced with five boundaries and three towering sixes while Gambhir also played his part with six boundaries and a six to his credit.
It was the Karnataka dasher who started the onslaught with a flurry of boundaries as Royals' opening bowlers -- Watson and Tim Southee -- were punished early on.
Uthappa was fed on his legs and he repeatedly clipped the ball in the arc between mid-wicket and mid-on.
Gambhir was content to play second fiddle at the other end as Uthappa went berserk from the outset.
Uthappa reached his 50 hoisting rookie leg-break bowler Rahul Tewatia. Once he reached his 50, he lofted Rajat Bhatia straight back into the sightscreen.
Gambhir gained in confidence as he took on the spinners Tambe and Tewatia, hitting them for boundaries before dispatching Rajat Bhatia into the stands. But his dismissal triggered a batting collapse.
Earlier, a collective effort by Rajasthan Royals' batsmen saw them reach a respectable score of 170 for six after being put in to bat by Gambhir.
In-form openers Karun Nair (44) and Ajinkya Rahane (30) provided a solid start while Samson (37) and skipper Watson (31) also made useful contributions to prop the score.
Sunil Narine was again the pick of the bowlers, grabbing two for 28 in four overs, while R Vinay Kumar got a couple wickets despite being smashed for 42 in four overs.
Rahane flicked Vinay off the very first ball of the match to start the innings in right earnest. In Yadav's second and fourth over of the innings, he carted the pacer for a four and a six off successive deliveries.
When Narine dropped one short, he drove the West Indian spinner through the covers as Royals reached the 50-run mark in the sixth over.
Having reached 30 off 22 balls with the help of three fours and a six, Rahane looked set for a big knock before it was cut short by a direct throw by Narine from short fine leg. Rahane, who was running to the striker's end, could not make it despite a full-stretched dive. The opening stand between Nair and Rahane yielded 52 runs in 6.3 overs.
Nair carried on in a calm and calculative manner as he added another 53 with the talented Samson. He used the sweep to good effect against Shakib Al Hasan, before he hit Umesh Yadav for a six over square leg.
However, Shakib got his revenge when he cleverly bowled wide outside off and the batsman had no chance with 'keeper Uthappa completing the stumping.
Nair's 44 came off 35 balls with four fours and a six.
Samson played a few streaky shots as he got a couple of boundaries early on in the innings off Andre Russell. He made 37 from 30 balls before he holed out Narine to deep mid-wicket.
Skipper Watson played his hand as he hit a couple crushing sixes off Vinay -- one over long-off and another straight down the ground.
Watson, who hit 31 off 20 balls, became Narine's second victim, with Surya Kumar Yadav taking a brilliant catch on the long-on boundary.
Rajat Bhatia hit a six off the last delivery that took Rajasthan's score to 170.
Image: Pravin Tambe