Most people at the PCA Stadium on Monday hoped to witness a Chris Gayle special. The phenomenon that the West Indian is, he didn’t disappoint.
Despite scoring 61 off 33 balls, however, Gayle failed to produce an innings worthy of his name. If there was a ‘real’ Chris Gayle, it was David Miller.
101 off 38 balls! Yes, it was ridiculous. Chasing 191, Kings XI Punjab reached the destination in 18 overs to best Royal Challengers Bangalore by six wickets. To further raise the degree of incredulity, it would be good to remind ourselves that the home team was struggling at 64 for four after 9.5 overs.
If KXIP had lost, it would’ve found itself on the brink of elimination. Now, however, it is reborn. Though Miller had produced a masterful 80 to defeat Pune Warriors earlier here, his knock against RCB was on a purely different level.
Having visited Nando’s for lunch, Miller displayed a fieriness that we have come to associate with the global restaurant chain’s chicken dishes. There were hardly any edges or slices; most shots came from the middle of the bat. The reason?
“It was a good bat. A really nice piece of willow,” remarked the 23-year-old.
The assault began after the end of the 13th over, with KXIP weakly placed at 95.
96 were required then and a large slice of luck arrived in the following over when Virat Kohli dropped a sitter with Miller on 41. 17 were added in the 14th, bowled by Vinay, but things really took a turn for the worse for RCB when R.P. Singh delivered the next seven balls.
Six, wide, six, four, four, four and one. 26 came off the over and suddenly, with 53 needed off five overs, it was anybody’s match.
Actually, no, the contest was KXIP’s to lose now. And they didn’t! The remaining runs were polished off in the following three overs with victory being fittingly sealed by Miller with a six off Gayle.
The South African finished with an unbeaten stand of 130 runs off 49 balls with Rajagopal Sathish who scored just 27.