Glenn Maxwell played a stunning knock of 89 runs before David Miller provided the finishing touches with a belligerent 19-ball 51 as Kings XI Punjab hammered Rajasthan Royals by seven wickets.
For the second consecutive time in this season, the KXIP batting line up was challenged with an imposing target. And yet again, the batting line up that boasts of players like Miller, Maxwell and Bailey did not let their fans down. It was a magnificent display of batting by the Kings as they chased down a total of 192.
Earlier in the day, it was George Bailey, the skipper of KXIP, who won the toss and elected to field first.
Put into bat, Rajasthan had a horrifying start to their innings when the in form Rahane was run out in the powerplay. Coming in at number three, 19 year old Sanju Samson played a little gem of an innings and made a classy 52. Left-handed Abhishek Nayar (23) was also impressive with his timing as he lifted Parvinder Awana for a massive straight six. Skipper Watson struck his form back and chipped in with a half century before being castled by the left arm spinner Akshar Patel. Down the order Steve Smith (27 not out) batted well for the Royals and it was his cameo that propelled Rajasthan Royals to a total of 191 in their allotted 20 overs. Murali Karthik was the most expensive bowler as he bled 51 runs in his four overs while spinner Akshar Patel was the pick of the bowlers.
The target looked daunting. Chasing an imposing 192 to win, Punjab made a sluggish start as Sehwag and Saha were dismissed cheaply. Pujara struggled for his 40. Although the Saurashtrian remained unbeaten, his stay at the crease never looked a comfortable one. But it was the Miller and Maxwell show that did the job for the Kings. Maxwell started it, fours and sixes rained all over the ground. In 10 overs, Punjab were 69 for two but in the next three overs, Punjab scored 51 runs with Maxwell scoring 46 of them.
Maxwell hit nine boundaries, including two sixes, in those three overs, which changed the scenario of the game.
In his third-wicket partnership of 116 runs with Cheteshwar Pujara, Maxwell’s contribution was 89 while Pujara (40 not out) was reduced to a spectator at the other end.
A century was there to be taken, but Maxwell threw it away once again. Kane Richardson dismissed Maxwell in the 13th over, giving the Royals some hope to get back into the game. But the wicket of Maxwell only brought in David Miller, and the South African showed why he is rated so highly at the international circuit. Miller smashed the second fastest fifty in IPL history by making a 19 ball 51.
It was the 18th over, when Miller hit four consecutive sixes of Dhawal Kulkarni’s bowling that almost seized the game for the KXIP. The bowlers lost their lines completely and the target was reached at ease. The incredible power hitting display overhauled the target with 8 balls to spare.
Glenn Maxwell was awarded the Man of the Match and he quoted “It feels good to get the orange cap and chase down above 190 in two consecutive games. It felt nice playing against familiar faces and I will try to hang on to the orange cap for as long as possible. The thing that worries me most is I was not there to hit the winning runs on both occasions.”
With this win, KXIP have announced themselves in the tournament and certainly they are the team to beat.
He is an engineering student at Christ University, Bangalore and aspires to become a sagacious writer. Apart from writing, he is obsessed withcricket and computer programming. He writes blogs and other stuff to gain cognizance and expertise at writing.