Johannesburg: Slamming an unbeaten 32 off 13 balls, Rohit Sharma pulled back Deccan Chargers from the brink of defeat to post a six-wicket victory over Kolktata Knight Riders in an Indian Premier League (IPL) cliffhanger at the Wanderers here on Saturday.
The win has consolidated Chargers' position for a place in the semi-final as they now have 14 points 12 matches have tipped Rajasthan Royals for the third position.
Chargers were staring at defeat with 21 needed from the last over while chasing 161, but Rohit, with two sixes and as many fours off IPL debutant Mashrafe Mortaza, tilted the fortunes in their favour.
The Knight Riders, with just one win in the tournament, suddenly found themselves eyeing a victory when a superb throw from Mortaza found the dangerous Andrew Symonds (18) short of crease and reduced Chargers to 128 for four in the 18th over.
It looked like Chargers had lost their way after being given a solid start by skipper Adam Gilchrist (43) and Herschelle Gibbs (28) as Murali Kartik (1-12) and Brad Hodge bowled effectively to slow the scoring rate.
Rohit with Venugopal Rao scored an unbeaten 48 runs with the latter contributing only 7 to clinch what at one point looked like an improbable win.
Earlier, Knight Riders propelled by David Hussey (43) and Hodge (48) ensured the team set a challenging target.
Brendon McCullum (20) and Sourav Ganguly (33), promoted up the order, got off to a sound start. But after McCullum's departure, Ganguly and Hodge struggled to score. The boundaries dried up, with both the batsman scoring a mere 25 runs in six overs before the strategic timeout.
Ganguly found himself in yet another controversy when he handed a throw while completing a single. The Chargers appealed against it but were turned down. Ganguly finally departed in the 15th over when he was caught by Harris off Rohit Sharma.
Hussey blazed away from the very first ball, with Hodge also cutting loose. Runs came in fast and furious with Hussey stroking four sixes and two fours in his 17-ball knock.
The Knight Riders got a windfall when R.P. Singh twice no-balled in the 19th over to be replaced by Harmeet Singh, who was hammered by Hussey for 28 runs in the most expensive over so far of the tournament.