Miller magic leaves RCB stunned
Kings XI Punjab 194 for 4 (Miller 101*) beat Royal Challengers Bangalore 190 for 3 (Gayle 61, Pujara 51) by six wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
David Miller became the fourth centurion of this edition of the IPL, as he single-handedly kept Kings XI Punjab in contention for a place in the play-offs. Miller's 38-ball century resurrected Kings XI from 64 for 4 and was chiefly responsible for the 99-run blaze off the last five overs of the chase. It ensured his side pulled off a grand coup against a team studded with superstars.
Royal Challengers Bangalore would not have expected this Kings XI, especially after posting the tournament's fifth-highest score. The Royal Challengers innings was built on the shoulders of Chris Gayle - who went past the fifty mark for the first time since his whirlwind 175 against Pune Warriors and reclaimed the orange cap - and the fit-again Cheteshwar Pujara, and was given legs by AB de Villiers' cameo at the end.
Kings XI responded with only a spine in Miller. He proved it remains the most important component of the human body and can be totally self-sustaining if needs be. Miller's father would have been a proud man, if he was watching in Durban. He gave his son an important piece of advice when he was growing up and tonight he followed it to the letter."If it's in the V, it's in the tree and if it's in the arc, it's out of the park," Miller senior said.
Against an attack that continued to offer him length, Miller had both those options and took full advantage. His innings was a masterclass in hitting straight, although not all his shots found the boundary. He top-edged one attempt when he was on 42. Virat Kohli spilled the skier which proved match-changing. The next over confirmed it, as Miller took 26 off RP Singh to begin the assault. He started by dispatching a half-volley over long-off and ending with a cut over point to display his ability in hitting to other areas of the ground as well.
Miller went on to pick the slower ball with ease and targeted wicket area as well, bringing up the 100 partnership with Rajagopal Sathish with a six off a short-ball. Sathish had only scored 11 at that point and was happy to play a bit-part role until the end.
Sathish managed 14 runs off Gayle's over and then dutifully gave Miller the strike to end the match. With three runs to get - it was only the 18th over - and Miller on 95, he needed a big hit to reach a century and he duly sent a length ball over the sightscreen to bring up his milestone in characteristic fashion.
Fittingly, it came off Gayle who had himself showed intent in the other half of the match but had to be a spectator this time. Gayle started well, despite being peppered with short balls from the Kings XI attack. Praveen Kumar and Parvinder Awana did not have the pace to test Gayle on the back foot and he had Pujara as an ideal foil. When Gayle was bowled, Pujara went on to record his first half-century in the format in typically classy fashion. His only ungainly shot came when he charged Manpreet Gony and played on.
Kings XI clawed back but ran into de Villiers at the end of the innings. His cheeky defiance began with a flyswat through midwicket and he innovated with the sweep shot and square cut to take Royal Challengers to a total they would have been satisfied with.
Having reduced Kings XI to 64 for 4 at the halfway stage, with David Hussey among those dismissed, Royal Challengers would have been confident of victory. But the other David was still at the crease and it is his name Royal Challengers will remember after tonight.
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent