A majestic Ben Stokes century saw Rising Puner Supergiant to a five-wicket win over Gujarat Lions on Monday night.
Chasing 162 for victory, Stokes entered the scene with his side in a dire situation at 10-3 before then being reduced to 44-4.
But a stunning 103 not out from just 63 balls, in an innings that contained seven fours and six sixes as Pune won the match with a ball to spare.
MS Dhoni (26) helped rebuild around Stokes’ brilliance before Dan Christian (17 off 8) sealed a dramatic victory with a six.
It is Stokes’ first IPL hundred, beating his previous best of 50 from this, his first season in the competition.
Earlier, having been put into bat first, Gujarat were given a flying start by openers Ishan Kishan and Brendon McCullum.
The former’s 31 from 24 balls was part of a 55-run opening stand but his dismissal didn’t halt McCullum who went on to make a blistering 45 from 27 balls as the former New Zealand captain’s superb run of form continued.
From there, however, Gujarat failed to capitalise and make a big total with Dinesh Karthik’s 29 the next best score in their 161 all-out.
Imran Tahir (3-27) and Jaydev Undakat were excellent with the ball in halting Gujarat’s early progress.
In response, Gujarat obliterated the Pune top-order as they slumped to 10-3 in just nine balls.
The hosts were reeling as Pradeep Sangwan struck twice in the first over of the match and then Basil Thampi removed Manoj Tiwary.
Sangwan accounted for both Ajinkya Rahane and Steven Smith, two crucial scalps.
From there, it was the Stokes show as the England all-rounder took centre stage in dominant fashion.
The result sees Pune strengthen their grip on fourth, moving four points clear of Kings XI Punjab in fifth and within a point of Sunrisers Hyderabad in third.
Gujarat, meanwhile, remain sixth on six points and their chances of advancing in this year’s tournament are bleak.