Sunrisers Hyderabad's bid to reignite their campaign in IPL 2023 came undone once again as they messed up an easy run chase against Kolkata Knight Riders in Hyderabad on Thursday.
SRH, who have lost four of their last five games, are languishing in ninth place with just three wins from nine games as they stare at an early exit.
SRH have only themselves to blame as they literally clinched defeat from the jaws of victory, stumbling sensationally at the end to gift KKR an unbelievable win.
Set 172 for victory, SRH looked in complete control on 124/4 after 14 overs, needing 48 from six overs for victory.
The home fans at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad were in full voice as Heinrich Klaasen and Aiden Markram revived SRH, hitting 49 from four overs.
But KKR's never-say-die spirit shone through once again this season.
Shardul Thakur's golden arm provided the opening for KKR's comeback as he struck with the vital wicket of Klaasen, who heaved the length ball into the hands of Andre Russell in the 15th over.
Klaasen had stroked 36 from 20 balls, putting on 70 runs for the fifth wicket with captain Aiden Markram.
SRH suffered another huge blow a couple of overs later when the well-set Markram threw his wicket away, lofting pacer Vaibhav Arora straight to Rinku at long-off.
Markram's departure for 41 all but ended SRH's hopes. The young Abdul Samad failed to take his team past the finishing line either as he swung hard and long before he fell in the final over for 21.
Nitish Rana's astute captaincy also played a role in KKR's superb victory. He held back spin ace Varun Chakravarthy's three overs for the closing stages, which proved quite instrumental as the SRH batters failed to get him away for boundaries.
Chakravarthy, who went for 12 in his first over, was outstanding with his control despite bowling with a wet ball due to the drizzle in the closing stages. He gave away just eight runs in his last three overs including eight dot balls out of 18 bowled to choke the SRH lower order.
SRH, coached by the great Brian Lara, will be left wondering where it all went wrong for them as they suffered their fourth loss in five games while chasing down a total. On the other hand, KKR, who have now beaten SRH in six out of their last eight games, will be relieved as the victory keeps their hopes alive of making it to the play-offs.