Chasing 165 for victory, Punjab rode on a breezy 67-run opening stand between Virender Sehwag (23) and Manan Vohra (42 off 19 balls) to overhaul the target in 19.4 overs.
Vohra dazzled with four fours and three sixes to entertain the packed house at the Kotla as the Punjab opening duo scored 66 runs in the powerplays.
South African leg-spinner Imran Tahir (3/22) struck after the drinks break — in the seventh over — to deny Vohra his fifty
But, Glenn Maxwell soon brought the crowd to its feet as the Orange Cap holder effortless hit Tahir for a huge six between mid-wicket and long-on.
Feeling at home till now, Sehwag also tried to emulate Maxwell and did hit a six but he soon chased one outside-the-off delivery to be caught at sweeper cover off Proteas off-spinner Jean-Paul Duminy.
Maxwell’s (14) stay was also short-lived as Tahir cleaned up the dangerman with a perfect googly and celebrated the prized wicket with a little run in the inner circle.
But, Delhi were hungry for more as Duminy, from the other end, came around the wicket to outfox an in-form David Miller (2) as the hosts sensed an upset with Punjab at 95 for four. Wriddhiman Saha (13) and Akshar Patel (42 not out) then stitched a 33-run fifth-wicket partnership to take Punjab closer to their target.
With 38 runs required, Mohammed Shami sent back Saha to give some hope to the home crowd but Akshar batted sensibly after that loss. The left-hand batsman hit three boundaries off Wayne Parnell to ease the pressure as a happy George Bailey (6) watched from the non-striker’s end.
Bailey fell to Tahir’s guile in the penultimate over but there was no twist in the tale as Rishi Dhawan (8 not out) hit the winning runs off Parnell.