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David Miller’s jaw-dropping 101 off 38 deliveries will go down as one of the greatest Indian Premier League (IPL) innings of all time. R Vishal looks back at the South African southpaw single-handedly taking Kings XI Punjab to victory over Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) at Mohali in IPL 2013.
In modern-day cricket, great finishers are either unorthodox or use sheer brute force to take their team across the finish line. David Miller, on the other hand, belongs to a unique brand of big-hitting batsmen who blend power with clinical stroke-making.
With the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2013 approaching the business end of the season, teams were jostling for the coveted play-off spots and battles were heating up with every passing fixture. Royal Challengers Bangalore were on a bit of roll with Chris Gayle pummelling bowlers into submission. Barely 10 days ago, the West Indian had scored a one-of-a-kind unbeaten 175, which remains the highest IPL score till date. With a shiny flat track in store for the night fixture in Mohali, Kings XI Punjab’s captain David Hussey won the toss and decided to field first.
Maybe Hussey saw some encouraging signs from Punjab’s previous fixture against Chennai Super Kings (CSK), where Shaun Marsh and Miller nearly chased down a gigantic score. With the team desperately fighting for consistency in the tournament, it was a decision borne out of hope rather than belief.
Within a few overs, Hussey would have felt like slamming his cap on the ground as his bowlers were put to the sword. The insipid Punjab bowling attack was cannon fodder for Cheteshwar Pujara and the merciless Gayle. Punjab were left to score an even bigger score than their last game. Bangalore posted a humongous 190 for three in their 20 overs. Pujara scored 51 and Gayle top-scored with 61. AB de Villiers added a quick-fire unbeaten 38 as well.
Despite not posing any threat with the ball, Bangalore found themselves on course to victory 10 overs into Punjab’s innings. Four wickets were down with 68 on the board. While Miller was still at the crease, it was unlikely that any of the new batsmen could rally around him. Especially given the fact that Punjab had to score 123 runs in 60 deliveries with a required run-rate that was touching 13.
Miller decided to go for broke and after settling in during the first few deliveries, a loose ball outside off-stump by Moises Henriques was tucked away for a boundary. It was the next over by left-arm spinner Murali Kartik that witnessed a glorious straight six over the top of the bowler’s head. The 13th over of the match by R Vinay Kumar gave a sneak peek into how proceedings were going to unravel that evening. First, Miller’s partner R Sathish was dropped off a fairly difficult chance by Gayle. The South African batsman then switched gears and scored a boundary and a beautifully timed six over long-on, for which he hardly broke a sweat. Another boundary came off the next ball before one of the defining moments of the match came along — trying to heave the ball for another six, the ball went into orbit before falling comfortably to Virat Kohli at mid-off. But the Bangalore captain made a mess of it and the ball fell on his face and to the ground as Miller survived. The lifeline for Miller witnessed some pure, unadulterated stroke-making that was never seen since the competition’s inception.
RP Singh was on the receiving end of some brutal hitting. The left-arm pacer tried to keep the batsman guessing with his change of pace, but the ball kept hitting the boundary ropes. Miller shifted his weight onto his front-foot and hit two towering sixes towards the leg side and put the bowler under immense pressure. RP Singh then tried to attack from round the wicket, but it was still runs galore. The deliveries were in Miller’s comfort zone and he bludgeoned three consecutive boundaries to make it a whopping 26 of the over.
Sathish’s diligence in this game may never be talked about but whenever he got the chance, he rarely ceased to rotate the strike. Ravi Rampaul proved to be ineffective as well. His harmless full-length deliveries were punished for a six and a four, and from an improbable position, Punjab held all the aces in the contest.
Vinay Kumar and Gayle threw everything at Miller hoping for a miscue or for the batsman failing to connect. They would have none of that as more sixes flowed and Bangalore looked like they just wanted to take the nearest exit from the stadium. Fittingly, Miller took strike in the 18th over and another half-tracker from Gayle reached the far end of the long on-stands and Punjab pulled of an astonishing win.
Miller had brought up his hundred in 38 deliveries and sent shockwaves around the world to add credentials to his name as a finisher. The Punjab dug-out raced onto the pitch to congratulate their hero and Kohli had only himself to blame for this defeat.
Both teams though finished strongly, but missed out on the play-off spots. The two teams met each other for another contest and the result was no different. Adam Gilchrist and Azhar Mahmood made mincemeat of the Bangalore bowlers and cruised to yet another imposing target. Miller’s innings though is one for the IPL archives.
Royal Challengers Bangalore 190 for 3 in 20 overs (Cheteshwar Pujara 51, Chris Gayle 61, AB de Villiers 38*; Manpreet Gony 2 for 41) lost to Kings XI Punjab 194 for 4 in 18 overs (David Miller 101*, R Satish 27*; Murali Karthik 2 for 24) by 6 wickets.
Man of the Match: David Miller
(R Vishal is a journalist and alumni of Asian College of Journalism. He can be followed on Twitter @vishhell)
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