The Rajasthan Royals were desperate for a win, with the scramble for the playoff spots so crowded and tight.
The Pune Warriors, with the handbrakes off, did not make it easy; however, the Royals fought tooth and nail to come away with an impressive five-wicket win to remain unbeaten at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium and stay on course for a top-four finish in IPL 2013.
Ajinkya Rahane made a fine half-century for the Royals, chasing 179, before Stuart Binny saw the Royals through in the final overs, with the home side finishing on 182 for five with a ball to spare.
The Pune Warriors had made a real fist of it, posting a commendable 178 for four, but it was not enough to stop the Royals from winning their sixth straight game at home.
The home side are now fourth in the points table with seven wins in eleven games, while Pune Warriors remain rock bottom with just two wins in 12 matches.
The Royals, chasing the huge target, got off to the perfect start as Rahul Dravid and Rahane blazed the trail for the rest of the batsmen with a 98-run partnership for the first wicket.
Dravid, 40-years-young, went toe to toe with his young teammate Rahane, as both openers scored at a nice pace to keep the Royals well within the scope of chasing down the target.
The Royals skipper was at his best, with some of his shots through the offside a joy to watch, as the home side got to 53 for no loss after the powerplay overs.
The duo looked like completing a 100-run partnership, before Dravid (58, 40b, 9x4, 1x6) holed out to Mitchell Marsh at long-off off Angelo Mathews.
The Royals needed 10 runs an over at that point, with the equation reading 80 from the last eight overs. That was considerably brought down after the 14th over, which went for 21 runs, as Rahane, in particular, and Watson hit three fours and a six off Mathews.
However, a brilliant 15th over from Wayne Parnell, again brought the game back in the balance, with the South African pacer conceding just one run, while also picking up the wicket of the dangerous Shane Watson (5).
The Royals now needed 51 runs from the final five overs, with Brad Hodge joining Rahane at the crease. Rahane's (67, 48b, 6x4, 2x6) stay at the crease ended in the next over, top-edging one while trying to find the boundary off Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
That brought Stuart Binny to the middle, with the right-hander spanking Rahul Sharma for a four and a maximum to cut the target to 29 from the last three overs.
Hodge was dismissed off a high full toss by Parnell, but the Royals still took 11 runs from the over, with Sanju Samson striking a couple of boundaries to take the equation to a very makeable 18 from 12 balls.
Binny (32, 13b, 2x4, 2x6) was relishing the final overs test and came out with flying colours, hitting a crucial six off Bhuvneshwar Kumar, leaving the Royals needing five from the last over.
The impressive Parnell was given the job of restricting the Royals to below five runs. Samson (10 in 6) went after the second ball, finding Udit Birla at midwicket, before the Royals knocked down the remaining four runs to seal a thrilling win.
In the first innings, with the pressure off, the Pune Warriors got off to a blazing start, topping 60 runs in the powerplay overs.
Robin Uthappa and Aaron Finch looked in good nick, with both openers taking the attack to the Royals bowlers, who were, surprisingly, well off the pace.
Ajit Chandila, so impressive in the last few games, only bowled two overs all game, as Uthappa and Finch lent into the off spinner, carting him for 23 runs.
The other bowlers did not fare too well either as the away side raced to 61 off the first six. After the first half of the innings, the Pune Warriors were still going at a fair clip, before the Royals finally broke through in the eleventh over.
Kevon Cooper removed Finch, with the Pune skipper playing on to while attempting a cross-batted hoick.
Yuvraj again flattered to deceive, hitting a couple of nice boundaries, before throwing away his wicket to Siddharth Trivedi, after mistiming a pull shot to Cooper at midwicket.
Mitchell Marsh came and got a little stuck, which then saw Uthappa unnecessarily run out while going for a quick single - some great work from the increasingly impressive Sanju Samson seeing Uthappa walking back to the pavilion for a well-made 54 (41b, 8x4, 1x6).
The Pune Warriors were 126 for three from 15.2 overs at that point, and from there Marsh (35, 21b, 2x4, 3x6) and Angelo Mathews (18, 15b, 2x4) put together 41 in a little over four overs - with the latter falling in the final over -- to take the struggling side to an impressive 178 for four.