Miller stars for Kings XI

2014-04-21 10:08
David Miller (Gallo Images)
Sharjah - Glenn Maxwell and David Miller have set up an emphatic seven-wicket win for the Kings XI Punjab as they propelled the victors to 193 for three with eight balls to spare thanks to magnificent boundary bashing against the Rajasthan Royals at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Sunday.

The website reports that Maxwell arrived at the crease unperturbed by the match situation as Punjab was wobbling on 10 for two after 2.4 overs.

He treated all-comers with disdain, smashing a sensational 89 off 45 balls, including eight fours and six sixes. When he was caught at long-off by Steve Smith off Kane Richardson in the fourteenth over, Punjab had 126 for three.

Punjab still had to score 49 runs off 24 balls to reach the competitive total, but Miller hit 51 off 19 balls to take them to a win with eight balls to spare. It included six sixes.

The definite turning point of the match came in the 18th over, when Dhawal Kulkarni conceded 27 runs. Miller was the executioner, hitting four sixes.

The Rajasthan Royals earlier compiled a competitive 191 for five, thanks to Sanju Samson (52, 34 balls, 3x4, 4x6) and Shane Watson. His 50 came off 29 balls, including five fours and three sixes.

Samson launched the Royals’ innings with Abhishek Nayar as 54 runs came in the power play-phase of six overs. Watson continued the carnage with Samson. They shared in a 74-run partnership off 42 balls.

Miller dropped Watson with his score on 16 near the long-off boundary and the Royals skipper celebrated the reprieve by getting stuck into the left-arm spinner Murali Kartik.

Smith’s late cameo yielded 27 runs off 14 balls in spite of an inspired two-over spell by Mitchell Johnson in which he conceded only nine runs in two overs and picked up the wicket of Stuart Binny.

Kings XOI Punjab made a sluggish start, losing Virender Sehwag (2) and Wriddhiman Saha (2) in the first three overs with only 10 runs on the board.

To add insult to injury, Pujara, a classical test batsman but not a natural aggressor, was in pedestrian mould.

Maxwell was unnerved by the early loss of wickets or his silent partner, playing with with carefree abandon.

His audacious stroke-play included several reverse sweeps and some classical driving through the covers, or slog sweeps over midwicket for six.

His Australian compatriot James Faulkner bore the brunt of his onslaught immediately after the power play (39 for two after six overs) as Maxwell hit seventeen runs in the seventh over. One was a six over midwicket and the second maximum was an upper cut over cover.

Due to Pujara’s inability to pound the boundary ropes, Punjab was restricted to 69 for two after ten overs.

Maxwell increased the run-rate with breathtaking improvisation in the eleventh over by hitting three fours with reverse sweeps off Rajat Bhatia.

Kulkarni, who had earlier removed Sehwag for two, was reintroduced into the attack to stop the bleeding. Maxwell greeted him with two classical extra-cover drives for boundaries as Kulkarni conceded seventeen runs in the thirteenth over.

Watson gambled by using Bhatia for one more over. Maxwell slashed eighteen runs off him, including a six over wide long-off.

Bhatia’s slower deliveries were mere cannon-fodder for Maxwell and sheer delight for an appreciative crowd. Richardson swung the match back in the Royals’ favour by removing Maxwell.

But Miller found his rhythm and the boundary ropes in the final four overs when 49 were still needed.

Pujara finished with 40 off 38 balls including three fours.

He wisely opted to rotate the strike at the business end of the contest to leave Miller to do the power hitting.

The South African middle-order batsman obliged. He finished the contest by slashing Faulkner for six over cover in the penultimate over to the delight of the crowd.

Richardson was the pick of a misfiring attack and took 1-25 in three overs. Kulkarni captured 1-50 in four overs.

Faulkner finished with 1-45 in 3.4 overs.

Pravin Tambe conceded only 26 in four overs.


Kings XI Punjab: V Sehwag, CA Pujara, GJ Maxwell, DA Miller, GJ Bailey (capt), WP Saha (wk), MG Johnson, M Kartik, AR Patel, P Awana, L Balaji

Rajasthan Royals: AM Rahane, SR Watson (capt), SV Samson (wk), STR Binny, SPD Smith, AM Nayar, JP Faulkner, R Bhatia, KW Richardson, DS Kulkarni, PV Tambe


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