The Friday of April 18, 2014, in Abu Dhabi will be remembered for a swashbuckling show from Kings XI Punjab's Glenn Maxwell, whose knock of 95 in 43 balls pulled of a daunting chase to upset two-time champions Chennai Super Kings.
Chennai were sitting pretty at the innings break on a mountain of 205 runs, but the smiles soon disappeared from the faces of MS Dhoni's men when Maxwell took charge and starting taking the bowling apart to eventually guide Punjab home with seven balls to spare.
Maxwell was well supported by David Miller, who scored 54* off 37 balls and took over once the Australian was dismissed by Dwayne Smith. But by then, it was just a matter of some intelligent batting by Punjab, which they managed to do. Maxwell hit 15 fours and 3 sixes during his blistering knock, which took the wind out of Chennai attack.
Maxwell and Miller added 115 runs for the fourth wicket after Virender Sehwag (19 off 10) and Cheteshwar Pujara (13 off 10) started Punjab's chase aggressively before departing in quick succession. Maxwell scored the bulk of the runs in his 63-ball stand with Miller.
Offie Ravichandran Ashwin, who trapped Pujara in front of the stumps, earned his second lbw by foxing Akshar Patel (2), leaving Punjab at 53 for 3 in the sixth over, which brought the Australian-South African duo together.
Maxwell entertained the Abu Dhabi crowd with his innovating hitting in a counter-attack that left Chennai gasping. But both Maxwell and Miller had their share of luck, with the former dropped twice and latter getting one extra life.
Maxwell fell in the 19th over of Punjab's run-chase, leaving his side needing 39 off 26 balls with a well-set Miller on the crease. The South African got behind the driving wheel and narrowed the target with two back-to-back sixes off Ravindra Jadeja. Punjab skipper George Bailey too didn't mess around and scored 17* off 10 balls as KXIP raced to victory.
Earlier, riding on a opening partnership of 123 between their new openers Brendon McCullum and Smith, Chennai managed to cross 200 after opting to bat first.
McCullum (67 off 45) and Smith (66 off 43) were virtually unstoppable after MS Dhoni won the toss and opted to bat. The innings started with a bang and the pair raised CSK's fifty inside the Powerplay and then went onto complete a century stand in 10 overs.
It was the slow left-arm orthodox bowler Patel who finally gave Punjab the breakthrough by removing McCullum. Smith, though, didn't slow down and kept his foot on the accelerator as the innings entered the last five overs. However, he was dismissed by medium pacer Laxmipathy Balaji, with Bailey taking the catch in the covers.
Raina's departure after a 19-ball 24 hardly affected the team's rhythm and in able company of Dwayne Bravo, Dhoni (26* in 11 balls) managed to take CSK past 200.
(With PTI inputs)
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