Abu Dhabi: Rajasthan Royals held their nerves in extreme pressure to pip Kolkata Knight Riders in a nail-biting Super Over finish in a fifth round encounter of the Indian Premier League here today.
It is the first match in the tournament that went to the wire with both main innings and the Super Over scores ending in a tie.
Rajasthan Royals were adjudged winners as they hit 18 fours and a six across two innings compared to KKR's nine fours and three sixes.
In the Super Over, KKR batting first scored 11 off birthday boy James Faulkner with Manish Pandey getting a six.
In reply, Steve Smith showed his cricketing acumen with a soft tap off the last delivery from Sunil Narine towards extra cover to get two runs which would have sealed the match in their favour.
Having set a target of 153 in 20 overs for KKR, the Royals bowlers kept their calm at the death as they restricted Gautam Gambhir's men to 152 for eight in 20 overs.
It was easily the most exciting contest of the UAE leg, with KKR needed 12 runs off the last over bowled by Kane Richardson.
With three to get of the final delivery, Shakib al Hasan (29 no) could manage only two runs as the scores were tied at 152.
This was after a splendid penultimate over bowled by Faulkner (3/11 in 2 overs) in which he got the wickets of Suryakumar Yadav (31), Robin Uthappa (0) and R Vinay Kumar (0) when they needed 16 off the last two.
Suryakumar swept Watson for a six to signal his intent of chasing down tthe target and it was followed with a heave that went for boundary through third man region as he got equation down to 28 from three overs.
Shakib then came to his own as he struck successive boundaries off Richardson as KKR inched towards the target.
Surya's cameo of 31 from 19 balls ended as he was comfortably pouched by Smith off Faulkner. Faulkner then bowled Robin Uthappa, who was shuffling across the crease to expose his leg-stump and got Vinay Kumar (0) off the very next ball as four runs came off the 19th over.
Earlier, Rahane hit a classy 72 as Rajasthan Royals posted a fighting 152 for five.
While Rahane anchored the innings with proper cricketing shots getting his runs off 59 balls, skipper Watson hit a few lusty blows to score 33 off 24 balls as the 64 runs in 7.3 overs for the third wicket.
Rahane's innings had six boundaries and a six. The manner in which he paced the innings was praiseworthy.
When Watson and before him, Sanju Samson were going after the bowlers, Rahane dropped anchor getting those singles along with odd boundaries as Royals reached 150 because of the Mumbai lad.
Ajinkya Rahane plays a watchful shot during his 72-run knock against KKR at Abu Dhabi on Tuesday. PIC/PTI/BCCI
Once Rahane got his half-century, he opened up pulling Vinay Kumar for a six.
For KKR, Shakib al-Hasan (1/23) and Sunil Narine (0/28) had a decent outing. R Vinay Kumar (2/30) was the most successful bowler for KKR.
Opting to bat, Karun Nair's (1) struggle in this format continued as he tried to give his state captain Vinay the charge and saw delivery cutting back into clip the leg bail.
Samson (20) got four boundaries off Morne Morkel in the final Powerplay over but was out in a freak manner. The talented Kerala youngster got onto the backfoot as Shakib bowled a fuller delivery. The ball hit his pads and rolled onto the stumps.
Rahane hit a few crisp boundaries and also got one when a thickish edge off a rising delivery from Morkel flew over the slip cordon. When Chawla was introduced into the attack, Rahane played a copybook sweep shot to get a boundary when the bowler pitched one well outside the leg-stump.
The first 10 overs produced 62 runs for the loss of two wickets.
Skipper Watson's first big hit was a lofted one bounce four off a flighted delivery from Shakib.
Rahane followed his skipper as he also used his feet to perfection to play the inside-out lofted shot over extra cover for a boundary.
The watershed moment for Royals came in the 14th over before the second strategic time-out as Watson got three boundaries off Piyush Chawla as it yielded 17 runs in all. The first was a slog sweep while the second was a cover drive and the third one a lucky escape as the inside edge went for a boundary.
In the next over from Narine, Watson smashed him over extra cover for a boundary. Rahane in the meantime completed his second 50 off the tournament off 44 balls.