A painstaking, albeit patient, knock by J P Duminy 59 (63 balls, 4x4) wasn't enough for Mumbai Indians as Kings XI Punjab defended a meagre total (119) with aplomb in a closely-contested Indian Premier League match at Kingsmead, Durban, on Wednesday.
It was the lowest first innings winning total in the IPL, where both teams involved had played their quota of overs, and, at three runs, one of the narrowest winning margins.
Punjab, with successive wins over Bangalore Royal Challengers and Rajasthan Royals going into the match, completed a hat-trick of victories thanks to a spirited bowling effort.
It was Mumbai's second defeat in five matches.
Earlier, accurate bowling, coupled with some poor batting, had helped Mumbai Indians restrict their opponents to 119 for eight.
If Punjab could put up that many runs it was only because of a fighting 45 not out off 44 balls (2x4, 1x6) from Kumar Sangakkara, who was deservedly adjudged man of the match.
For the record, the Punjab total contained just four hits to the fence and two over it, appalling statistics in the Twenty20 format of the game and, by far, the worst by any team in the tournament.
Mumbai weren't far behind though, their tally of eight fours and one six being just marginally better. But what mattered most was the fact that Punjab won despite most of the statistics going against them.Punjab innings:
After losing the toss on three successive occasions, Yuvraj Singh called correctly for a second straight time and had no hesitation in asking the opposition to field first.
However, his openers ensured he regretted the move. Karan Goel (12/12) and Ravi Bopara (6/14) managed just 10 runs off the first 21 balls and the concept of Powerplay seemed from another age.
Mumbai sensed the nervousness and took a gamble by bringing in Harbhajan Singh as early as the fourth over.
And the move paid immediate dividends.
Goel, having got impatient with the ordinary start, tried to break loose and smashed Harbhajan's fourth ball over the deep midwicket fence for the maximum.
But his aggression was cut short the next ball, Harbhajan beating him in the flight and Pinal Shah doing a smart bit of work behind the stumps.
Punjab 18 for one after four.
Tendulkar introduced Dwayne Bravo into the attack. The West Indies all-rounder struck with his third ball, getting an edge off Bopara and the captain accepting a catch at slips with gratitude.
Yuvraj (10) survived just 13 balls before JP Duminy had him caught by Zaheer Khan at long-on.
Punjab were reduced to 42 for three after nine.
Tendulkar continued with his bowling changes by bringing himself on in the final over before the break, which did not help Punjab much, only seven runs coming from the over.
Punjab were in dire straits at just 50 for three going into the strategic time out and had lost a quarter of the battle.
Any hopes of a comeback were doused in the first over after resumption, when Tendulkar made yet another bowling change, bringing in Sanath Jayasuriya.
The former Sri Lanka captain struck with his third delivery, having compatriot Mahela Jayawardene (7/9) caught by Shikar Dhawan.
Yet again in the tournament a wicket had fallen in the first over after the break.
Sangakkara and Irfan Pathan (7/10) put on 32 runs in four overs before the latter hit a Zaheer delivery straight to Bravo at deep midwicket.
Punjab were precariously poised at 86 for five after 15 overs.
Lasith Malinga added to their cup of woes with a double strike in the 17th over.
The Sri Lanka fast bowler, who currently has the Purple cap on his head -- as the highest wicket-taker in the tournament so far -- took his tally to 11 and ensured the cap remains with him for some more time.
Wilkin Mota (5/6) dragged an attempted yorker onto his stumps, and two balls later Malinga got a perfect yorker to uproot Piyush Chawla's stumps.
For those interested in stats, six of Malinga's 11 wickets so far have come at the expense of the batsman's stumps.
12 runs off the final over, by Bravo, ensured the asking rate was at least six per over.
Sangakkara, with a fighting 45 not out off 44 balls (2x4, 1x6), waged a lone battle for Punjab.
Mumbai Indians were off to a disastrous start. Chasing a small total is always difficult, also taking the complacency factor into consideration. And they made a mess of the chase early on.
Irfan struck in the first over, getting the dangerous Jayasuriya (0) to edge one to Yuvraj in slips off the first legal delivery.
The Sri Lankan's opening partner, Tendulkar (1/6), followed with the second ball of the second over.
Vikramjeet Singh, in place of VRV Singh, tempted the Mumbai captain to hit one straight to Jayawardene at cover.
Punjab had reduced Mumbai to five for two after the second over and, more importantly, sent both the dangerous openers back to the pavilion.
The Sachin-Sanath combine had put together 127 for the first wicket against Kolkata in the previous match, but an encore remained a pipe-dream.
The introduction of Yusuf Abdulla in the fifth over gave Punjab their third breakthrough, the South African trapping an out of sorts Dhawan (3/7) plumb in front.
The triple blow, with more than 15 overs left, ensured Mumbai's scoring rate decreased drastically and the asking rate increased with each passing ball.
JP Duminy, Mumbai Indians' costliest purchase in the second auction (@ $ 950, 000), hit successive boundaries off Malik, the first between point and cover and the second straight past the bowler, to ease the pressure a bit.
And Bravo (15/20) further broke the shackles by hitting Chawla to the boundary and following it up with a maximum over long off.
But any hopes of a revival were soon doused when Powar tempted Bravo, and the latter, in his bid to clear the long-on fence, succeeded only in holing out to Mota.
Mumbai went into the strategic time out at 47 for four, three short of the Punjab total (having lost a wicket more) at that stage, having made heavy weather of what seemed an innocuous target to begin with.
After resumption, Yuvraj took a leaf out Tendulkar's book and made generous bowling changes, Goel, Mota, Powar, Abdulla and Irfan all getting to swing their arms one after the other.
Duminy had settled down well but was struggling to time the ball. However, to Mumbai's relief they did not lose an early wicket after the break.
Their first boundary in 24 deliveries came courtesy a misfield off Powar's bowling, Duminy being the beneficiary.
The South African survived a stumping chance in the next over off Goel, when Pinal took time to react.
And he expressed his gratitude by delicately guiding compatriot Abdulla to the third man boundary.
Two overs later, Duminy reached his maiden IPL half-century with a couple of Chawla.
However, his innings (off 55 balls), happened to be the slowest half-century of the tournament.
Mumbai were 94 for four after 17 overs, needing 26 from three. To Punjab's detriment, their captain, Yuvraj, was off the field to nurse an injured finger.
Irfan compounded Mumbai's woes by having Nayar (15/15) yorked. Harbhajan (6/5) perished in the penultimate over, hitting Chawla straight to Goel at long off.
Mumbai 108 for six, needing 12 to win from the last over.
All hopes rested on Duminy. The South African was definitely not in his elements but managed to do so far what his teammates had failed to -- survive.
And he was caught by Taruwar Kohli at deep midwicket off the penultimate ball, it was all over.