Spinner Amit Mishra and pacer Dale Steyn scalped two wickets each as Deccan Chargers knocked Rajasthan Royals out of the Indian Premier League by inflicting on them an upset five-wicket defeat in a must-win match in Hyderabad.
Coming into the crunch game, Rajasthan batsmen failed miserably as they could post just a modest 126 for eight after electing to bat on a track which had turn as well as bounce.
Rajasthan needed to win today's match as well as their last league clash against Mumbai Indians on May 20 to qualify for the knock-out stage but defeat has pushed them out of the race.
Skipper Rahul Dravid top-scored for them with his 36-ball 39 with the help of five boundaries while Owais Shah made a useful 28. Ashok Menaria contributed 20.
Leg-break bowler Mishra (2/20) got vicious turn and he along with pacers Dale Steyn (2/16) and Veer Pratap Singh (2/31) took two wickets each.
Deccan ended Rajasthan's hopes and also snapped their five-match losing streak by overhauling the target with eight balls to spare.
Openers Akshat Reddy (42) and in-form Shikhar Dhawan (26) set the tone with a 63-run stand and then JP Duminy also scored crucial 24 runs to steer the side home but they almost made a mess of the chase by losing some quick wickets.
It looked like becoming a close match as hosts required 25 runs from as many balls and then lost Duminy when nine were required off 12 balls but Ashish Reddy (10) hit two consecutive boundaries off Tait to seal the win.
Now the the race to seal the two available spots is among four teams -- Mumbai Indians, Chennai Super Kings, Royal Challengers Bangalore and Kings XI Punjab.
It was Deccan's third win from 15th match and first since May 1 when they had defeated Pune Warriors.
The pitch at the Rajiv Gandhi International stadium had something for both the spinners and the pacers and the hosts made full use of the opportunity to taste a rare win.
Rajasthan kept losing wickets at regular intervals and that dented their chances of putting up a good total.
Rajasthan never got the desired going in the crunch game with their prolific scorer Ajinkya Rahane (6) failing to make a significant contribution.
After being dropped by Parthiv Patel in the first ball he faced from J P Duminy, he was dismissed by Steyn, who bowled a very hostile two-over spell.
Manpreet Gony could have got two wickets in two balls but the butter-fingered fielders denied him those scalps. First Shikhar Dhawan dropped Dravid and then a chance off Watson (13) was grassed in the next ball. Dravid was on individual score of eight then in the fifth over.
Despite poor fielding, Rajasthan batsmen struggled to score as they managed just 31 off the first five overs. In came spinner Amit Mishra and he cleaned up Watson with his first delivery.
The leg-spinner returned and this time he castled Stuart Binny (7) to leave the visitors reeling at 61 for three at half-way mark.
There was a big responsibility on the shoulders of Dravid and Shah to steer the team to a competitive total but the skipper started his walk back to the dug out when he slashed one hard off Gony only to find Chris Lynn at the rope.
Runs came in through singles and doubles after that and boundaries were far and few.