Melbourne Stars leapfrogged Perth Scorchers at the top of the Big Bash League table on Saturday with a seven-wicket victory at the WACA.
The Scorchers could have sealed a place in the semi-finals with a win, but were always up against it after slumping to 13-4 upon winning the toss.
Andrew Tye (42) led a recovery with his highest T20 score, but Perth's total of 134-7 was overhauled with 16 deliveries unused as Kevin Pietersen and Marcus Stoinis contributed contrasting unbeaten innings of 44 and 40 respectively.
Pietersen, the Stars' marquee player, was not at his imperious best but held firm to anchor his side's chase after being dropped on three and almost run out on seven.
The Scorchers were also left to rue dropping Rob Quiney on five, the in-form opener swiftly adding a further 30 runs, while Stoinis hurried Melbourne to victory after a close call on six when the ball was adjudged to have bounced just before reaching Michael Klinger at cover.
Former Australia internationals Michael Beer and Ben Hilfenhaus were chiefly responsible for limiting the Scorchers to an inadequate total. Spinner Beer removed Ian Bell and Cameron Bancroft for ducks on his way to outstanding figures of 2-12 from four overs and Hilfenhaus was similarly economical, returning 2-15.
Melbourne, who still have two matches to play, now lead the race to secure a top-four finish, while the Scorchers are down to third on net run-rate ahead of their final group match against Hobart Hurricanes.
HOW QUICKLY THINGS CHANGE
Although the Stars were always in control of their chase, a nervy finish appeared possible when four tight overs from the Scorchers - yielding a total of 20 runs - left 27 needed from the final 24 deliveries.
However, Stoinis duly clubbed 22 runs in Andrew Tye's final over and soon rounded off the match in style by lofting Ashton Agar over long-off for his third maximum in five deliveries.
IS THAT YOU, GEOFFREY??
Former Australia all-rounder Andrew Symonds sparked much amusement during the Scorchers' innings as he offered up a more than passable impression of ex-England skipper Geoffrey Boycott.
As his Channel Ten co-commentators struggled to contain their laughter, Symonds spent around 30 seconds in character as Boycott - his efforts earning widespread praise on social media.