Kings XI Punjab 193-3 (Maxwell 89) beat
Rajasthan Royals 191-5 (Samson 52) by 7 wickets
Indian Premier League 2014, Sharjah
A stunning display of power hitting by Glenn Maxwell and David Miller helped the Kings XI Punjab to their second successive victory in the Indian Premier League 2014, this time by seven wickets over the Rajasthan Royals in Sharjah.
At the Sharjah Cricket Stadium, Maxwell struck his second consecutive fifty and Miller his first of the tournament, as Kings XI (193 for three in 18.4 overs) overhauled the Royals’ score of 191 for five.
Chasing another steep target of 192 for victory, Kings XI lost Virender Sehwag (2) and Wriddhiman Saha (2) early. It brought together Cheteshwar Pujara and Maxwell at the crease, and they were like chalk and cheese, playing two very different innings that helped their side in reaching the victory line in the end.
Pujara bided his time and batted patiently as he does in all formats, while Maxwell teed off, smacking a half-century off only 28 balls, with three fours and four sixes.
It helped bring up the 50-run mark in the seventh over for Kings XI, as the duo’s 50-run partnership also came up off 31 balls. Then another 28 balls later they were celebrating their 100-run partnership as the triple-digit score came up in the 12th over, nearly double-quick time.
Maxwell finally fell in the 14th over, after scoring 89 runs off 45 balls, hitting eight fours and six sixes in all and in doing so set up the perfect platform for next-in Miller.
While Pujara continued to hold one end up, Miller smacked the bowlers around, taking Dhawal Kulkarni (1-50) for 27 runs in the 18th over of the innings. Then he reached his fifty, scoring 51 off only 19 balls with six mighty sixes included, the last of which brought Kings XI their win with eight balls to spare.
Pujara was unbeaten on 40 off 38 balls, with three fours, while Kane Richardson (1-25) and James Faulkner (1-45) were the other wicket-takers.
Earlier, Kings XI won the toss and elected to field first. Rajasthan Royals were hoping for a bright start, but their big hope Ajinkya Rahane (13) was run out in the third over with the score only on 22.
Abhishek Nayar scored 23 runs off 20 balls, with two fours, and thereafter put up 32 runs for the second wicket with youngster Sanju Samson. He fell just after the 50-run mark was breached in the sixth over.
Samson then was joined by skipper Shane Watson and together they put on 74 runs for the third wicket, both batsmen going on to score their first fifties of this season. Watson reached his milestone first, off only 28 balls as he hit five fours and three sixes, while Samson did so later, off 32 balls, hitting three fours and fours sixes.
Together they helped the team cross the 100-run mark in the 12th over, setting the stage for a big total.
Watson was finally bowled by Akshar Patel (1-22), not adding to his half-century score, but Samson carried on and took his side past the 150-run mark in the 17th over. he was last out in the same over, after scoring 52 runs off 34 balls, while Steve Smith’s late belligerence – 27 off 15 balls with five fours – took the score to a near-unbeatable mark.
Parwinder Awana (1-40), Mitchell Johnson (1-29) and Murali Kartik (1-51) were the other wicket-takers for Punjab.
© Cricket World 2014