Yuvraj Singh cracked a dazzling 72 before the bowlers staged a brilliant recovery in the death overs to help India clinched a nerve-wracking 11-run victory over arch-rivals Pakistan in the second T20 International in Ahmedabad, on Friday.
The victory also helped India level the two-match T20 series 1-1 after the visitors had won the first match by five wickets.
India posted a huge 192 for five in their 20 overs riding on Yuvraj's 36-ball-knock that included seven huge sixes, and then restricted the rivals to 181 for seven with the bowlers finding their mojo just in the nick of time.
Paceman Ashok Dinda scalped three for 36 including the important wicket of rival captain Mohammed Hafeez (55) in the penultimate over to turn the tide in India's favour at the jam-packed Sardar Patel Stadium.
At one stage, Pakistan seemed to be well and truly on course to overhaul India's challenging target but Dinda and Ishant Sharma kept their cool during the death overs to seal the issue in hosts' favour.
Needing 20 runs off the final over bowled by Ishant, Umar Gul and Shoaib Malik could manage only eight runs much to the delight of the home crowd and captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni whose leadership has been under the scanner for some time now.
Apart from Hafeez, who scored his runs off only 26 balls with six fours and three sixes, openers Nasir Jamshed (41) and Ahmed Shehzad (31) were the other notable contributors for the visitors.
Pakistan captain Hafeez came in at the fall of Shehzad's wicket and took the Indian attack to the cleaners hitting five fours and three sixes. The two shots that stood out was a scoop over the short fine leg fielder off Bhuvneshwar Kumar's bowling and the second was the six over extra cover off Ishant's bowling.
He also hit a couple of boundaries off Ashok Dinda and the equation suddenly changed. When Umar Akmal was cleaned by Dinda, the pair had added 62 runs in 5.3 overs.
The Pakistan captain completed his second half-century in a row with a boundary back past the bowler off just 23 deliveries, having hit five fours and three sixes.
Shahid Afridi hit a four and six in his customary style before he was caught by Rohit off Bhuvneshwar's bowling, who claimed one for 46 in four overs.
As Pakistan started to inch forward with the bat in the closing overs, Dinda dismissed Hafeez and Kamran Akmal with slower deliveries to bring India closer to victory.
Pakistan started their chase in right earnest as openers Nasir Jamshed and Ahmed Shehzad added 74 runs for the opening stand.
It was the introduction of Ashwin that slowed down the proceedings. Skipper Dhoni dropped a tough catch off Jamshed (40) got an inside edge off Ashwin but the opener couldn't capitalise on the miss and was caught byVirat Kohli for 41.
Yuvraj was greeted with straight six by Umar Akmal but he got the wicket of Shehzad stumped in his first over after he had scored 31 off 29balls with three boundaries and a six.
Earlier, a flamboyant Yuvraj muscled his way to a scintillating 72 as India scored a massive 192for five after being put into bat.
Yuvraj's career-best T20knock could not have come at a more opportune time as it lifted India to a defendable total after being pegged back by three quick strikes.
Yuvraj started off steadily, looking to get his eye, before he plundered seven huge sixes and four boundaries in his 36-ballblitzkrieg.
With skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (33) he added 97-runs for the fourth wicket as India put on board its highest total against Pakistan in T20Internationals. Pakistan spinner Saeed Ajmal bore the brunt of Yuvraj's fury as the Indian creamed four sixes off him with three coming in a row in the 19th over, which yielded India 22 runs.
The left-hander was out in the last over off paceman Umar Gul, who was the most succesful bowler for Pakistan with four wickets at the expense of just 37runs.
Earlier, India openers provided a fiery start, adding 44 runs inside five overs, but neither Gautam Gambhir (21) nor Ajinkya Rahane (28)could build on that.
Thetwo openers were in good touch, driving and cutting elegantly. Rahane found boundries on the off-side despite facing a packed off-side field and also flicked confidently.
PacerGul removed both of them in space of two overs to cripple India after their good start.
Gambhirdeparted after hitting Gul for three consecutive boundaries as he was foxed by a slower one. Gul returned and effected Rahane's dismissal with a catch in his follow through when the diminutive batsman miscued a pull shot.
Young fast bowler Mohammed Irfan was again impressive as he bowled a quick bouncer at Yuvraj,who was beaten all ends up before he received a painful blow on his right foot courtesy of a quick yorker.
The two quick wickets of the openers pegged India back as the pressure started to mount onYuvraj and Virat Kohli to wriggle the side out of the tight situation.
Kohli (27)too departed after getting his eye in when a confusion between him and Yuvraj resulted in his run out.
Dhoni arrived and meant business straight away, despatching one from Shahid Afridi with a lofted drive over the cover region fora boundary.
Yuvraj cut loose, hitting a massive six off Afridi over mid-wicket to bring up India's 100 as 17 runs in the 13thover. Ajmal too got the same treatment by Yuvraj as one of his deliveries vanished in the crowd.
The 19thover saw Yuvraj bring the crowd to it's feet as he smashed Ajmal for three huge sixes. He slog swept a flighted delivery over the leg side for a huge six over midwicket and repeats the dose off the next ball for another maximum. He then made it a hat-trick of sixes smashing Ajmal high over long-on to race as 22 runs came from that over.
The usually reliable Ajmal was hit for 42runs in his four overs.
Yuvraj was out in the final over of the innings to pacer Gul when he holed out to the fielder at long-off,who also bowled Dhoni in that over.