Rising Pune Supergiant missed out on the chance to secure a place in the Indian Premier League play-offs as they suffered a seven-run defeat to Delhi Daredevils on Friday.
Karun Nair's 45-ball 64, as well as quickfire contributions from Rishabh Pant (36) and Marlon Samuels (27), helped Delhi to a total of 168-8.
Ajinkya Rahane went first ball in Supergiant's reply and the inability of Steve Smith (38) and Ben Stokes (33) to turn strong starts into big scores, proved costly for Pune, despite the efforts of Manoj Tiwary (60).
Mohammed Shami (2-37) claimed the pivotal wicket of the typically punchy Stokes and Pune were left with too much to do when MS Dhoni fell victim to a direct hit run out from the same man.
Pune stay third in the table but the defeat means their final game with fifth-placed Kings XI Punjab will effectively be a one-game play-off if Sunrisers book their spot with a win over Gujarat Lions on Saturday.
Sanju Samson was run out by Stokes for two in the first over of the match but - after Shreyas Iyer (3) had also fallen cheaply - Nair and Pant formed a 74-run partnership to turn the tide.
Nair, who sent the ball to the rope nine times, found another willing partner in Samuels, but Pune checked Delhi's momentum in the final two overs to keep them below 170.
Stokes (2-31) accounted for Nair's wicket, his short delivery top-edged into the arms of Jaydev Unadkat (2-29), the same duo combining again to dismiss Shami as the England international took a stunning juggling catch at the rope.
Delhi captain Zaheer Khan (2-25) led by example to immediately remove Rahane, but Smith steadied the Supergiant ship and looked in the mood to produce a big score until he was trapped plum lbw by Shahbaz Nadeem (1-21).
Stokes took on the mantle to hit three fours and two sixes, however, he failed to connect properly with a Shami full toss and was caught by Corey Anderson having earlier been dropped twice.
Dhoni's run out for five further tilted matters in Delhi's favour but Tiwary remained a constant and - needing 25 off the last - he blasted successive sixes to offer hope of a late reversal in fortunes.
A Pat Cummins wide on the next delivery added fuel to that belief, but the Australian rediscovered his composure to quell the fightback.