Ross Taylor made a valiant 46, his second straight man-of-the-match effort, as Royal Challengers Bangalore edged past Chennai Super Kings by two wickets in their Indian Premier League match at Kingsmead, Durban on Thursday.
Chasing a moderate 130 to win, Bangalore made a mess of the chase, almost lost the match before finally managing to scrape through with two balls to spare.
If Taylor's unbeaten 81 in the win against Kolkata was the innings from an invader, on this occasion he played like a native.
His resilient knock came of 50 balls and consisted of only two boundaries and a six. And though he got out in the final over, he had done enough to ensure his team win their second match on the trot.
Bangalore's terrific win over Kolkata at Centurion, coming on the heels of two successive defeats against Rajasthan Royals and Mumbai Indians respectively, had given them ample confidence and it translated into a performance, a win that lifted them up to fourth place with 12 points.
Earlier good bowling, particularly by Anil Kumble (4-0-12-2) and Jacques Kallis (4-1-18-2), coupled with some excellent work in the field helped RCB restrict CSK to a modest 129.
Matthew Hayden, with 60 of just 38 balls (5x4, 3x6), was the lone Chennai batsman to make any significant contribution to his side's cause, his innings taking his tournament aggregate to 486 from 10 matches. The orange cap isn't changing heads any time soon.
Going into the match, Chennai was bursting with confidence after five straight wins (they remain second), over opponents as dangerous as Delhi Daredevils, Rajasthan Royals (twice) and Deccan Chargers.
And they had outclassed Bangalore by 92 runs when the two sides met in Port Elizabeth, the largest margin of victory in the tournament so far.
An encore didn't happen though.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni called correctly and had no hesitation in opting to bat first on a wicket that seemed conducive for the same.
Kumble, his Bangalore counterpart, tried to spring in a surprise by coming in to bowl the opening over. The leg spinner did well, conceding just four runs first up.
However, Matthew Hayden, the tournament's runaway leader in the race for the orange cap with most runs, justified his captain's decision soon enough.
The Australian southpaw smashed three successive boundaries from the first three balls of the second over bowled by R Vinay Kumar, the first over mid on, the second wide of midwicket and the third through the covers.
The Chennai batsmen plundered 16 runs in that over prompting Kumble to bring in Praveen Kumar in the third over. However, there was hardly any respite.
Hayden smashed the UP bowler's first ball over extra cover for a boundary and two balls later, cleared the mid on boundary for a maximum.
Kumble handed Kallis the ball in the fourth over and the South Africa responded with a wicket-maiden his first in this format. Kallis' third ball was dug in and M Vijay's (5/9) mistimed pull went straight to Robin Uthappa at fine leg.
In the came the in-form Suresh Raina (13/10), and he made his intentions clear slamming Praveen Kumar for successive boundaries.
Raina dispatched Kallis for another boundary but the latter had the last laugh, having the batsman dismissed thanks to a splendid catch by Roelof van der Merwe at midwicket.
Raina, now aggregates 322 from 10 innings, and has fallen behind in the race for the orange cap in the last few matches scoring 32, 32, 32, 13 and 13 in his last five innings.
Dhoni (18/20) marked his arrival with a pull front of square for a boundary and the shot also ensured Chennai, despite having lost two wickets, had made most of the Powerplay period (first six overs) accumulating 52 runs.
Dhoni and Hayden ensured there was no further damage heading into the strategic time out, Chennai comfortably placed at 72 for two.
Bangalore had come back well after Hayden's early outbursts but to their detriment Kumble had bowled out their best bowling option thus far Kallis (4-1-18-2).
Hayden hoisted the third ball after resumption (of van der Merwe) over the midwicket fence for his second maximum.
In the next over of Vinay Kumar, the Aussie employed the paddle sweep to good effect and got a boundary to complete what was his sixth half-century in the competition.
Dhoni perished in the first ball of the 13th over, van der Merwe taking yet another brilliant catch, this time of his own bowling.
Hayden dispatched the ball over the same bowler's head for yet another maximum but he perished in the next over Kumble, caught brilliantly by Vinay Kumar at the deep midwicket boundary.
And when the Bangalore captain had S Badrinath (2/9) caught by Uthappa at long on in his next over, Chennai had seen just 19 runs added in five overs at the cost of three wickets.
And the Chennai tail didn't wag either.
Albie Morkel (9/7) was caught by Kumble at extra cover of Praveen Kumar and Bangalore achieved twin successes in the penultimate over, Vinay Kumar first having Jacob Oram (7/15) caught by Boucher and in the next ball having Lakshmipathy Balaji (0/1) skying one straight to Kumble at midwicket.
And in the final over, Bangalore effected two simple run outs Muttiah Muralitharan (4/3) and Sudeep Tyagi (0) to complete an excellent day's work in the field.
Chennai had slumped from 93 for two after 12 overs to 129 all out with two balls remaining and had ensured the game was Bangalore's to lose.
Bangalore got off to a disastrous start, Morkel trapping Kallis leg before of just the second ball and Tyagi having Rahul Dravid (8/7) caught by Badrinath at backward point in the next over.
For Kallis, who had bowled so well earlier in the day, it was his second golden duck in the tournament the South African was also dismissed first ball aginst Delhi by Dirk Nannes.
As regards Dravid, he was looking in good touch (having scored two boundaries) till he failed to keep Tyagi's short ball down.
Ross Taylor, whose 81 not out of 33 balls helped RCB beat Kolkata Knight Riders, made a positive start again, hitting Tyagi for boundaries towards point and backward point in his second over.
However, Morkel returned to trap Uthappa (6/4) plumb in front in his third over to reduce Bangalore to 30 for three after five overs.
Virat Kohli hit a boundary each of Shadab Jakati and Murali to ease the pressure as Bangalore went into the strategic time out at 57 for three, 15 runs less than Chennai at that stage having lost a wicket more.
But thanks to the fact that they were chasing a low total, they required only 73 from their final 10 overs.
The Bangalore think tank knew that they shouldn't allow the Chennai spinners to settle down and that is what their batsmen were asked to do during the break.
Kohli began the assault hitting Murali to the boundary in the second ball after resumption.
And in the Sri Lankan's third over, the innings 13th, Kohli's intentions became further clear. He first lofted the spinner to the long on boundary Hayden was guilty of misjudging a catch here and then charged down the pitch to clear the midwicket fence for the maximum.
Another maximum from Kohli in the next over by Jakati brought on the 50-run stand for the fourth wicket. The Kohli-Taylor duo had amassed 56 runs at almost a-run-a-ball to give the Bangalore innings the stability it needed after the early shocks.
However, just as things were looking up for Bangalore, Kohli (38) hold out to Oram at midwicket (of Balaji). The Delhi-born batsman faced just 35 balls and had four hits to the fence and two over it during his knock but lost his wicket at a crucial juncture.
Bangalore needed 39 to win from their last five overs (with six wickets left) and Murali had Boucher (5/5) caught by Hayden at slip in the first ball of the 16th.
Taylor whacked Balaji over the midwicket boundary for a maximum but two balls later, van der Merwe (3/6) was unnecessarily run out to put the pressure back on Bangalore.
The chasing side's woes intensified when Balachandra Akhil (0/2) was caught by Tyagi, running from third man, of Oram in the 18th over.
With 17 needed from the final two overs, Praveen Kumar hoisted Balaji's first ball (of the penultimate over) wide of long on and cleared the fence. A further six runs in that over meant Bangalore needed just five of the final over.
However, there was a twist in the tale.
Taylor top edged the first ball of the final over (by Oram) and Dhoni accepted the catch with gratitude.
But Vinay Kumar (6/2) managed to find the boundary backward of point to seal the issue for Bangalore.
In the final analysis, Chennai's batting blunder came back to haunt them and their paltry total was simply not good enough to defend, even though they came mighty close to doing so.