Miller mayhem in Mohali
David Miller hit the third fastest hundred in all IPL history to finish a stunning chase for Kings XI Punjab and give them a 6 wicket win over Royal Challengers Bangalore at the PCA Stadium in Mohali on Monday night.
RCB was in command for much of the 36 overs in the game after Kings XI Punjab won the toss and chose to bat first, a decision Virat Kohli said he too would have taken. Ravi Rampaul replaced Muttiah Muralitharan while Cheteshwar Pujara’s availability after a long recovery from an injury meant he replaced KL Rahul in the team.
Pujara came to open the batting with Chris Gayle and played a tentative hand while the West Indian went about his business. Gayle was repeatedly bowled short deliveries but he coped with strong backfoot play against Praveen (0/28) and Awana (1/28) before opening up with an assault in the 5th over off IPL debutant Michael Neser. Pujara took his time to play himself in, scoring in one burst against Gony before relaxing.
Gayle lost his wicket right soon after reaching his half-century, bowled for 61 (33b 6x4 3x6) to end a 102 run opening partnership. Pujara (51 48b 8x4) accelerated after his departure, bringing up his first IPL fifty off 45b but Punjab fought back, sending him and Virat Kohli (14) back in successive overs to reduce the team to 144/3.
AB de Villiers (38 19b 4x4 2x6) and Moises Henriques (16 7b 2x4 1x6) chipped in with another late blast, raising an unbeaten 46 run stand in just 19 deliveries to take RCB to an imposing 190/3.
Punjab came out attacking but Ravi Rampaul (1/27) and Vinay Kumar (1/48) had sent back both openers Shaun Marsh (6) and Mandeep Singh (16) by the 5th over. Gurkeerat Singh Mann (20) and David Hussey (13) kept pushing the innings ahead but both fell to Kartik Murali (2/24), leaving KXIP stuttering at 68/4 after 10 overs.
South African David Miller had won KXIP one game chasing a similar total at Mohali with his hitting and taken them close on two occasions against quality attacks from Mumbai and Chennai. Finding himself in a similar situation, Miller began to hit out.
Miller and R Satish had both survived dropped catches by then and with 90 needed off 40 deliveries, KXIP were running out of time. On 7 off 9, crashing a four, six and a four but the last ball of the over was to prove crucial. An across the line slog from Miller took the top edge but Kohli lost sight of the skier in the low floodlights and dropped it, giving the South African a reprieve when he was on 41. 17 runs came off the over.
RP Singh came on to bowl the next over and was generous in his length, allowing Miller to just open his stance and swing for the ropes. Two sixes and three fours later RP managed a yorker which Miller deflected for a single to retain strike. In the next over from Rampaul, he worked the ball around for singles but cashed in on two slower deliveries to take 16 off it. Vinay Kumar attacked him with short pitched deliveries in the 17th over but he was too well set to be troubled by then.
The pressure was showing in the field with even AB fumbling a pick up in the deep to let the batsmen convert a single into two. The over ended with Vinay unfairly being called for a front foot no ball though his foot was on the line. 18 came off it and Miller’s incredible batting had reduced the equation to 19 needed off 18 balls.
Virat Kohli threw the ball to Chris Gayle. In the mayhem, Satish had only faced four deliveries on his way to compiling a very helpful 12* off 13b, watching from the non-strikers end while Miller cut loose. He now joined the fun, hitting a six and two fours before turning the strike over to Miller.
From 28 off 17b, the South African had raced to his fifty off 24 deliveries and had reached 95* off 37b at the end of the 17th over. Facing the last ball of the 18th over, he slammed a straight six to give the perfect finish to an incredible counterattacking inning, bringing up the third fastest century of the league. He finished on 101* (38b 8x4 7x6) and Satish made 27 (18b 2x4 1x6).
More importantly for KXIP, the 6 wicket win saw them finally close a chase after having come close in Mumbai and Chennai and kept their hopes of a spot in the play-offs alive.