Yuvraj Singh's sensational second hat-trick of the tournament, coupled with Irfan Pathan's twin blow in the last over, handed Kings XI Punjab a one-run victory over Deccan Chargers in the Indian Premier League on Sunday and kept their hopes of advancing to the semi-finals alive.
Put into bat, Punjab put up a modest 134 for seven, built largely around Kumar Sangakkara's 43-ball 56, and then rode on Yuvraj's hat-trick to restrict the Chargers to 133 for eight.
The Chargers looked set to run away with the match after Rohit Sharma hit a quickfire 26-ball 42 and just four runs from five balls were needed for victory. But the dashing batsman who had only the previous day taken them past Kolkata Knight Riders, off the last ball of the match with a 13-ball 32, was dismissed to the third ball of the last over. R P Singh and Jaskaran Singh could score just two runs and Kings XI were home by a solitary run.
Earlier, Yuvraj came to his team's rescue just when Deccan Chargers were cruising to the modest target of 135 -- at 65 for two wickets after 10 overs.
Opener Herchelle Gibbs departed to the last delivery of the first over after the strategy break when his powerful cut off Yuvraj's delivery saw Piyush Chawla at backward point pouch a sharp catch.
Yuvraj sizzled again in his next over, sending the dangerous-looking Andrew Symonds (25 off 25) packing, wicketkeeper Kumar Sangakkara first fumbling with the ball before effecting a brilliant stumping.
The bowler's next delivery then disturbed Venugopal Rao's (0) stumps. It gave the left-arm spinner his second hat-trick in the Twenty20 event, the first coming against Royal Challengers Bangalore.
Earlier, Punjab got off to a disastrous start, losing three early wickets -- those of Sunny Sohal (9), Luke Pomerbsach (1) and Australian Simon Katich (11) -- in first five overs.
Sohal started on an attacking note, cracking a sixer in the first over off paceman Ryan Harris, but fell prey to R P Singh in the next as another ambitious shot found Rohit at fine-leg.
Katich, looking dangerous after hitting two fours, only complicated things for Punjab when he offered an easy catch to Pragyan Ojha off Andrew Symonds, leaving the team struggling at 26 for 3.
Yuvraj (20 off 18) then paired with Sri Lankan wicket-keeper batsman Sangakkara (56 off 43) to mark a short recovery before Rao cleaned bowled the Punjab skipper.
The Punjab batsmen found it hard to score runs against a disciplined Deccan bowling attack, which maintained a stifling line and length.
Sangakkara, who struck five fours and a six in his quickfire 56-run innings, stitched a crucial 53-run partnership with Wilkin Mota (12) to guide Punjab to a descent score of 134.
For Deccan Chargers left-arm paceman R P Singh (3-26) was the best bowler of the day, picking three wickets for 26 runs, including that of Sangakkara.
Chasing the modest target of 135, Gilchrist started in his usual attacking fashion, cracking three boundaries and a lofty hit over the fence to pick 18 runs off Irfan Pathan's second and the innings' fourth over.
With Gilchrist (23) and Gibbs going great runs, Yuvraj was forced to introduce Ramesh Powar into the attack in the fifth over and the strategy immediately yielded result with the off-spinner inflicting twin blows in consecutive deliveries.
Gilchrist was the first to depart, stumped by Sangakkara off Powar, and Tirumalsetti Suman followed suit (0) without troubling the scorers. Deccan Chargers 34 for two.
Gibbs (26) joined hands with Symonds to keep the scoreboard ticking and took the Hyderabad outfit to 65 for two at the halfway mark.