Illustrious batting from Glenn Maxwell (89) and David Miller (51) helped Kings XI Punjab chase down Rajasthan Royals' 191 quite comfortably with 8 balls to spare. (BCCI Images)
Glenn Maxwell played a whirlwind knock of 89 runs before David Miller provided the finishing touches with a breathtaking 19-ball 51 as Kings XI Punjab hammered Rajasthan Royals by seven wickets in a high-scoring IPL-7 match on Sunday.
Chasing an imposing 192 to win, Maxwell and Miller put on an incredible power-hitting show as Punjab overhauled the target with eight balls to spare.
Earlier, young batsman Sanju Samson (52) hit a classy half-century and Shane Watson (50) played a captain's knock to guide Rajasthan Royals to 191 for five after being put in to bat. But their effort proved of little benefit.
It was Maxwell, who yet again played a gem of a knock, turning the match on its head with sensational hitting. Maxwell's knock came off just 45 balls as he punished the bowlers with eight fours and six sixes. He did not spare a single Rajasthan bowler as it rained boundaries when he was batting in full flow.
In 10 overs, Punjab were 69 for 2 but in the next three overs, Punjab scored 51 runs with Maxwell scoring 46 of them. The Aussie hit nine boundaries, including two sixes, in those three overs, which changed the complexion of the game.
In his third-wicket partnership of 116 runs with Cheteshwar Pujara, Maxwell's contribution was 89 while Pujara (40 not out) was reduced to a spectator at the other end.
Kane Richardson stemmed the rot by dismissing Maxwell and that time Punjab needed 66 off 37 balls. Left-handed Miller carried forward the good work with magnificent batting.
Miller hit four sixes off paceman Dhawal Kulkarni as Punjab creamed 27 runs in the 18th over. It was all over for Rajasthan in that over.
Punjab were actually off to a poor start as Virender Sehwag (2) yet again departed early. Sehwag hit his shot well off Kulkarni but found the fielder. Wriddhiman Saha (2) was then scalped by James Faulkner and Punjab were reduced to 10 for 2.
Maxwell took the fight to the rival camp with his fearless batting. He quickly completed his fifty while opener Pujara was holding one end up tightly. Playing reverse sweep with amazing success in his innings, Maxwell hit Rajat Bhatia for two consecutive boundaries to raise his fifty in 28 balls.
Earlier, 19-year-old Samson gave ample display of his class with his 52-run knock which came off just 34 balls, laced with three fours and four sixes. Watson too was at his vintage best as he smashed his way to a 29-ball 50, which was studded with eight boundaries, including three sixes.
The two shared an explosive 74-run stand for the third wicket in just seven overs as it rained boundaries when they were batting together. Down the order, Steve Smith (27 not out) batted well for the Royals.
Murali Karthik was the most expensive bowler for Punjab as he gave away 51 runs in his four overs while spinner Akshar Patel was impressive, giving away just 22 runs in his quota.
(With PTI inputs)