Abu Dhabi: Glenn Maxwell and David Miller put on a 115-run stand to help Kings XI Punjab to a sensational six-wicket victory over two-time champions Chennai Super Kings in the Pepsi Indian Premier League (IPL) at the Shaikh Zayed Cricket Stadium on Saturday.
Maxwell fell five runs short of what could have been the first century of the IPL 7, while Miller remained unbeaten on 54.
The scoreboard pressure was always going to be there chasing 205 and Punjab slipped to 52 for 3 in 5.1 overs when Virender Sehwag, Cheteshwar Pujara and Akshar Patel all were back in the hut. However, Maxwell and Miller kept finding the gaps with precision without wasting time.
Earlier, Brendon McCullum and Dwayne Smith put Chennai Super Kings’ off-the-field furore following the spot-fixing farce to rest by unleashing absolute carnage after their skipper M.S. Dhoni opted to bat on a hot and humid day.
The duo put up a partnership of 123 runs for the first wicket as Chennai posted a mammoth total of 206 for victory.
McCullum scored 67 from 45 balls, with the help of four boundaries and five sixes, while Smith followed it up with an impressive 66 from 43 balls, including six hits to the fence and three over it.
However, little did they know that the best batting display of the day was yet to come.
Maxwell got two lives, when on 37 when Ashish Nehra failed to catch his shot at short third man and then while on 77 by another missed catch by substitute Samuel Badree at deep square leg. Maxwell was clearly the dominant partner of the two, but Miller did well to keep rotating the strike.
Still needing another 113 off 60 balls, the turning point of the game came when slow left-arm spinner Pawan Negi was taken to task in the 13th over. Maxwell smashed him for three boundaries and in all 22 runs came from that over. The run rate now was well under 10 and the equation had changed to 68 off 42 balls. Chennai also lost their death bowler Dwayne Bravo with an injury and, once Smith got rid of Maxwell, Miller took charge. He went after Ravindra Jadeja in the 17th over and put Punjab in line for victory.
Kings XI Punjab beat Chennai Super Kings by six wickets
Chennai Super Kings: 205 for 4 in 20 overs (DR Smith 66, BB McCullum 67, L Balaji 2 for 43).
Kings XI Punjab: 206 for 4 in 18.5 overs (G Maxwell 95, DA Miller 54; R Ashwin 2 for 41).
Chennai won the toss and opted to bat.