After putting 190 on the board and reducing Kings XI Punjab to 64 for 4 halfway through their chase on Monday, Virat Kohli and Royal Challengers Bangalore almost had another win the bag and a foot in the play-offs door - until David Miller proved to be the giant killer.
The South African played his best and undoubtedly one of the most scintillating innings in the IPL history to strike a 38-ball hundred and steal the match from under RCB's nose. Almost unaware of how shaky the scorecard looked at his arrival, Miller produced a Gayle-like innings studded with 8 fours and 7 sixes en route his 101 not out that knocked down the 191-run target with 12 balls to spare.
And he finished it in style: a six off Christopher Henry Gayle, straight over his head, giving the West Indian a taste of his own medicine and Punjab a much-needed win. But the man cursing himself was RCB skipper Kohli who let Miller off on 41, dropping a skier. After that, there was no stopping the South African, who hammered 60 off the next 17 balls.
When asked after the match what got him going, Miller didn't mince words: "If it's in the V, it's in the tree; if it's in the arc, it's out of the park." That summed up how Miller approaches his cricket, which should serve South Africa well in the future.
Miller then went on to describe how he and R Sathish planned the coup. "It was a big total to get. Sathish and I decided to get in and then explode. Sathish is experienced. He did a great job in the end," the Man of the Match said.
Kohli rued the missed opportunity while describing Miller's knock as one of the best in the IPL. "One of the best innings anyone has ever seen in the IPL, but a few good efforts in the field could have changed it for us. 190 was a par total. We should have taken the chances in the field. You concentrate hard when you go for catches, but sometimes they don't stick. Credit to David too. It was an incredible innings," said Kohli.
Punjab skipper David Hussey was a relieved man, describing the feeling as "unreal."
"What an innings! About an innings like that, what can you say! We never lose hope. We have been fighting till the bitter end. The total was a bit over par, but when you have batters like David Miller and Sathish at the end, anything is possible. It seems unreal when you sit down and watch it," said a relaxed Hussey, who has been captaining Punjab ever since Adam Gilchrist decided to sit out.
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