Andrew Symonds's half-century and a superb spell from Pragyan Ojha enabled Deccan Chargers outclass Delhi Daredevils by 11 runs and storm into the semi-finals of the Indian Premier League, in Delhi, on Sunday.
Paul Collingwood scored an unbeaten 51 from 42 balls, but Delhi's top order failed yet again as they finished on 134 for seven in their 20 overs in reply to Deccan's 145 for seven.
Defending champions Deccan won five matches in a row to join Mumbai Indians, Chennai Super Kings and Royal Challengers Bangalore in the last four.
Ojha, the tournament's top wicket-taker with 20 wickets, again rose to the occasion as he claimed two for 16 in his four overs.
Harmeet Singh's change of pace got him two wickets for 41 runs in four overs, while Chaminda Vaas excelled on his comeback, claiming one for 19 in four overs.
Delhi's top order woes continued as their top four batsmen perished cheaply, Rohit Sharma taking three brilliant catches to play a hand in three of those dismissals.
David Warner was the first wicket to fall, caught at first slip by Rohit Sharma off Mitchell Marsh for five. Virender Sehwag, dropped on 0, did not make most of the lifeline, brilliantly caught by Rohit, diving full length to his right at first slip, off Vaas for eight.
Tillakaratne Dilshan tried to play the paddle sweep against Harmeet Singh, but missed the ball and was trapped leg before wicket for 11.
Gautam Gambhir (4) tried to chip Pragyan Ojha through midwicket but was once again done in by Rohit, who came up with another good diving catch.
Earlier, Delhi Daredevils pacers Ashish Nehra and Umesh Yadav claimed two wickets each to restrict Deccan Chargers to 145 for seven in their 20 overs.
Andrew Symonds threatened with a blazing innings of 54 from 30 balls, hitting five sixes and three boundaries, but his dismissal saw Deccan lose their way after they elected to bat.
Adam Gilchrist looked in good touch as he hit two boundaries early on, but he didn't last long and was dismissed in the second over. He tried to pull a short delivery from Ashish Nehra but got a top edge and was taken by Gautam Gambhir on the off-side for 10.
Dirk Nannes kept things quiet, giving away just 10 runs in his first two overs, while Nehra went for runs in his second over. Monish Mishra flicked a full delivery over square leg for a six, while another was sent through the point for a boundary.
Umesh Yadav claimed two quick wickets to put Deccan on the backfoot. The pacer struck with his very first delivery when he bowled T Suman with an incoming delivery for five.
In his next over, Rohit Sharma hit him for two successive boundaries before Yadav had him caught behind with the outswinger for 11 as Deccan were reduced to 52 for three after seven overs.
Andrew Symonds started off in some style when he flicked Yadav through fine leg for a boundary. He then charged down the wicket and lofted Amit Mishra for a huge six over the long-off fence.
Deccan then gave away an easy wicket when Monish Mishra was run out for 25 by a direct hit from Mithun Manhas at mid-off.
Symonds took a special liking to Mishra's leg spin as he slammed him yet again for another six over mid-off to take Deccan to 79 for four after ten overs.
The sixes were flowing fast and thick from Symonds's bat as he helped himself to a couple of sixes through the leg side off Tillakaratne Dilshan's first over.
Paul Collingwood also suffered from Symonds's attacking display as his slower delivery was sent over the long-on fence for another maximum. The Deccan right-hander then played the late cut for a boundary through thirdman region to bring up his half-century from just 26 balls, inclusive of three boundaries and five sixes.
Finally, Mishra got his revenge on Symonds when he had the right-hander caught on the long-off fence for a quick 54 from 30 balls, inclusive of three boundaries and five sixes.
Mitchell Marsh also perished in the next over when he was foxed by a slower delivery from Nehra and top edged to Manhas at midwicket for 13.
Delhi's bowlers managed to keep the runs down, while picking up wickets at regular intervals.
Chaminda Vaas holed out Nehra to Collingwood and was dismissed for three as Deccan were reduced to 128 for seven after 18 overs, having lost three wickets for 12 runs in the space of 15 deliveries.
Just 28 runs came from the last five overs as Deccan finished on 145 for seven in their 20 overs with Rahul Sharma unbeaten on 14 from eight balls and B Sumanth not out on seven.
Yadav emerged the best bowler for Delhi as he took two for 22, while Nehra claimed two for 24.
Virender Sehwag got an early lifeline when his outside edge off Chaminda Vaas flew past a diving Rohit Sharma, at first slip, who failed to hold on to a difficult chance.
But Rohit held on at the second opportunity to a sharp chance after a juggle when David Warner edged Mitchell Marsh and was dismissed for five.
Sehwag joined his partner on the sidelines in the next over when he yet again got an outside edge. Rohit came up with a brilliant catch, diving full length to his right off Vaas to send back Sehwag for eight.
Tillakaratne Dilshan also failed to make an impression. He shuffled across the stumps and tried to play the paddle sweep against Harmeet Singh but missed and was trapped leg before wicket for 11.
Mithun Manhas got off the mark in style with back-to-back boundaries off Harmeet, straight down the ground and through fine leg respectively to take Delhi to 33 for three after four overs.
Rohit completed his hat-trick of catches when again came up with a blinder at midwicket to dismiss Gambhir for four. The Delhi captain charged down the wicket and tried to chip Pragyan Ojha on the leg side but Rohit came up with a dazzling catch diving to his left this time, reducing the hosts to 44 for four after seven overs.
Gambhir's wicket saw Deccan take control as the boundaries dried up before the pressure paid off.
Manhas, who made 23 from 22 balls, went for a quick single but was run out at the bowler's end. Manhas and Collingwood failed to get going and were involved in a painstaking partnership of 29 runs in 33 deliveries for the fifth wicket.
Delhi suffered another big blow when Dinesh Karthik was bowled by Ojha for one. The right-hander was beaten by a superb delivery from Ojha that pitched on middle and turned away, taking Karthik's off-stump to reduce the hosts to 72 for six after 13 overs.
Collingwood broke the shackles when he chipped down the wicket to Rahul Sharma and hit him down the ground for a six, the first boundary hit after nearly seven overs.
Amit Mishra made four from nine balls before he was bowled by Harmeet as he inside edged one back on to his stumps trying to cut a short delivery.
Ashish Nehra got off the mark in style when he chipped Harmeet over midwicket for a boundary. Collingwood then slammed the bowler for a six through the same region to give their team some hope as they reached 99 for seven after 16 overs, needing 47 from the last four overs.
Nehra then boosted Delhi further when he slog swept leg spinner Sharma over midwicket for a six. In the same over, Rohit let his team down when he dropped Collingwood, on 36, at long-off as the match headed for a thrilling finish with Delhi requiring 37 from the last three overs.
Collingwood (42) got another reprieve when Symonds failed to hold to a tough catch diving forward at deep midwicket off Marsh, in the 18th over.
While Collingwood struggled to find the boundaries, Nehra made up for it from the other end. He walked across his stumps and flicked a full delivery from Marsh over the short fine leg fielder for a boundary to make it 27 needed from the last two overs.
The England batsman picked up the slower delivery from Harmeet, which he despatched into the stands over midwicket for a six to bring up his half-century from 38 balls.
With 17 needed from the last over, Delhi never really challenged against Vaas, who bowled on the perfect line and length.
Delhi finished with 134 for seven in their 20 overs and lost by 11 runs.
Collingwood made 51 from 42 balls but never got going in the middle overs, while Nehra struck a few big blows at the end to score 22 from 16 balls.
Deccan answered their critics in style as they won their last five matches to make it to the semi-finals, while Delhi's campaign slipped as they won just one out of their last five matches.