The famed top order crumbled but Dinesh Karthik's bravura unbeaten 56 and Manoj Tiwary's (36) gutsy cameo enabled Delhi Daredevils eke out a thrilling five-wicket win against Mumbai Indians to cling on to their semi-final hopes in the Indian Premier League in New Delhi on Saturday night.
For once, the Daredevils middle order took the onus on itself to pull off an improbable win with Karthik being the architect of the victory that helped them stay afloat in the tournament.
Karthik's match-winning unbeaten 56 came off 32 balls and was studded with three sixes, besides four fours.
Needing 177 to cling on to their semi-final dreams, the Daredevils required eight runs off the last over, sent down by Ashish Nehra. Karthik and Ferveez Maharoof (20 not out) kept their cool as the Daredevils overhauled the target with one ball to spare.
Earlier, Sanath Jayasuriya's incendiary 66 and late bloomer Robin Uthappa's unbeaten two-run-a-ball 46 powered the Mumbai Indians to 176 for 8.
Chasing 177 to stay afloat, Virender Sehwag (18) got into strike in the second ball, which he duly blocked before unleashing himself and the last four balls of Shaun Pollock's first over read like 4,4,6,4.
The euphoria, however, didn't last long as Sehwag's Ranji teammate Nehra pegged back his leg stump with his second ball to silence the choc-a-bloc stadium.
Much to the horror of the hosts, Gautam Gambhir (19) too sizzled before he fizzled out. The left-hander hit Andre Nel for a four and a six before losing his sang-froid and holing out to Dwayne Smith in the deep.
Reaching 50 inside five overs was of little consolation for the hosts who, by then, had their best two batsmen back in the hut.
Manoj Tiwary (36) and Shikhar Dhawan (27) stemmed the rot but Dwayne Smith's two-wicket burst - the West Indian was in fact on a hat-trick - again rocked the Daredevils ship. Smith first had Dhawan caught on long on before he rattled scoreless Tillakratne Dilshan's furniture.
Every hope of overwhelming the target seemed to have gone up in smoke with the almighty mix-up between Tiwary and Karthik in the 15th over which sent the former back to the pavilion.
Karthik, however, redeemed himself with some lusty hits towards the end and he found an able ally in Maharoof who ran hard between wickets while throwing his bat around.
Earlier, it was vintage Jayasuriya stuff on display at the Ferozeshah Kotla and Sehwag's decision to insert the Mumbai Indians seemed to have boomeranged with fours and sixes flowing at an alarming rate from the Sri Lankan's blazing blade.
Jayasuriya showed how much he loathes to play second fiddle, even if it's to Sachin Tendulkar (18). The Sri Lankan completely outshone his illustrious partner at the non-striker's end, who dealt mostly in pushes and nudges, punctuated by the occasional boundary.
After tormenting Brett Geeves, Jayasuriya smote V Yomahesh for back-to-back sixes and followed it up with a boundary before Yomahesh pushed one through Tendulkar's gate to drop curtains on the burgeoning stand which had yielded 70 runs in just over seven overs.
A nonchalant Jayasuriya then sent Amit Mishra to the stand as Mumbai cruised to the 100-mark in the 12th over.
Mishra, however, had his man in his next over when Jayasuriya perished at long off after a violent 42-ball knock, sprinkled with six boundaries and five sixes.
Uthappa was slow to get off the block but he redeemed himself with back-to-back fours off Geeves before hitting three boundaries on the trot off Glenn McGrath, which is an achievement in itself.
In the final over, Uthappa hit Yomahesh for two successive sixes as the Mumbai side crossed the 175-mark.
Yomahesh returned four for 36 from his full quota of overs.