Miller delivers a killer blow

South African slams blazing 38-ball unbeaten century as Kings XI overpower Challengers

Miller delivers a killer blow

Royal Challengers Bangalore stared in shock and disbelief. Anyone who saw David Miller bat on Monday night would have. Challengers had put up a dominant performance and were cruising before the South African left-hander produced the innings of his life, a 38-ball 101, as the Kings XI Punjab pulled off a memorable six-wicket victory at the Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) Stadium.

Few would have given a chance to the Kings XI who at one stage were reeling at 64-4 while chasing an imposing 190/3 set by the Challengers. But Miller (101, 38 balls, 8x4, 7x6), who had been consistently showing signs of exploding, sprang to life as Kings XI
raced away with a stunning victory right under the Challenger’s nose.

Miller’s knock was the third fastest hundred in IPL and his partnership with R Sathish, the highest for the fifth wicket for Kings XI, brought 82 runs in their last four overs.

After a pedestrian fare by their bowlers, Kings XI desperately needed their ace batsmen to rise to the occasion. But both Shaun Marsh and Mandeep Singh were back in the dugout with mere 25 runs on the board and Kings XI were quick to find themselves on a sticky wicket.

But Miller slough Kings XI off from the stupor with some sensational heaves and got the capacity crowd grooving in delight. Like a man possessed, he batted with amazing authority and urgency to scatter the field. Kings XI, who were nowhere close to reaching the target at one stage, closed the gaps in a flurry through a tornado in the shape of Miller.

His blitzkrieg triggered panic in Challengers’ rank and captain Virat Kohli was at his wits’ end.  To add insult to injury, it was Kohli who dropped Miller at 41 and the left-hander celebrated it by mowing RP Singh for 26 runs in the next over with a six and three boundaries in a row.

Miller’s innings paled the entertaining knocks of Chris Gayle (61) and Cheteshwar Pujara (51) after Challengers were put in to bat.

It never takes Gayle long to break the shackles and Michael Nasser was made to feel the music with two successive sixes in the fifth over. The Jamaican makes stroke-making look so effortless that it belies the power behind it.

His effervescence seemed to rub off on a quiet Pujara too and he responded by cracking three back-to-back hits to the fence off Manpreet Gony (2-41) in the next over. It opened the floodgates and the two set out to pulverize the Kings XI attack. Runs came at a fast clip; Gayle taking the aerial route at will and Pujara attacking with flair and timing the ball brilliantly.

Gony halted their march. He knocked off Gayle’s middle stump when the latter attempted a pull but missed the line to spark frenzied celebrations. Pujara, who was looking good after completing his half-century, perished shortly while going for a slog.
The reliable middle order pairing of Virat Kolhi and AB de Villiers (38 not out) was separated by Parvinder Awana when the former mistimed a pull off a short ball and Shaun Marsh held on to the catch while running backwards from mid-wicket.

De Villiers in company of Moises Henriques (16 not out) brought Challengers back on track and they accelerated superbly towards the end to take 21 runs off last over.
It was a competitive total, one that Challengers could have felt confident of defending. But it was Miller’s night. He reached his century in style with a six, that also brought the winnings runs, and single-handedly shorn the Challengers of yet another away victory.

score board|

ROYAL CHALLENGERS BANGALORE: Cheteswar Pujara b Gony 51 (48b, 8x4), Chris Gayle b Gony 61 (33b, 6x4, 3x6), Virat Kohli c Marsh b Awana 14 (14b, 1x4), AB de Villiers 38 n.o. (19b, 4x6  2x4), MC Henriques 16 n.o. (7b, 2x4, 1x6). Extras (LB-5, W-4, NB-1) 10. Total (for 3 wkts; 20 overs) 190.
Fall of wickets: 1-102 (Gayle), 2-133 (Pujara), 3-144 (Kohli).
Bowling: Praveen Kumar 4-0-28-0 (2w), Parvinder Awana 4-0-28-1 (1w), Manpreet Gony 4-0-41-2, Michael Neser 4-0-62-0 (1nb), Piyush Chawla 4-0-26-0 (1w).

Runs during Powerplay: 0-6: 58/0

KINGS XI PUNJAB: Mandeep Singh c Arun Karthik b Vinay Kumar  16 (12b, 3x4), Shaun Marsh c de Villiers b Rampaul 6 (7b, 1x4), Gurkeerat Singh lbw Kartik 20 (20b 3x4), David Hussey c Henriques b Kartik 13 (14b, 1x4), David Miller 101 n.o. 38 (8x4, 7x6), R Sathish 27 n.o. 18 (2x4 1x6). Extras (B-4, LB-2, W-4, NB-1) 11. Total (for 4 wkts; 18 overs) 194.
Fall of wickets: 1-13 (Marsh), 2-25 (Mandeep Singh), 3-51 (Gurkeerat Singh), 4-64 (Hussey).

Bowling: Ravi Rampaul 4-0-27-1, RP Singh 3-0-38-0 (1w), Moises Henriques 3-0-29-0 (1w), R Vinay Kumar 4-0-48-1 (1nb), Murali Kartik 3-0-24-2 (1w), Chris Gayle 1-0-22-0 (1w).

Runs during Powerplay: 0-6: 41/2.

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