Miller, Sandeep set up massive win for Kings XI
Kings XI Punjab 198 for 8 (Miller 66, Sehwag 30, Chahal 2-23) beat Royal Challengers Bangalore 143 for 8 (De Villiers 53, Sandeep 3-25, Shivam 2-26) by 32 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
When the two teams last met, Sandeep Sharma had dismissed Chris Gayle and Virat Kohli in the same over and set the tone for a convincing win for Kings XI Punjab. On Friday, Royal Challengers Bangalore were chasing rather than setting a target, but the same set of characters went through an eerily similar routine, right down to the questionable umpiring decision that did for Kohli, in an over that sent Kings XI on their way to a 32-run win that gave them sole occupancy of the top spot in the IPL table.
An innings of 66, off just 29 balls, from David Miller had powered Kings XI to a total of 198. If any team could chase it, though, it was Royal Challengers. They had been the only team to chase a 200-plus total on this ground, and they had done it against the same opponents, back in 2010. They faced a similar ask this time, and needed their top order to fire.
Sandeep had troubled Gayle with his swing right through his first over, beating him twice before failing to grab a difficult caught-and-bowled chance off the last ball. First ball of his second over, though, Sandeep had his man. The ball moved away from Gayle, who swung hard at it and edged to the keeper.
In walked Kohli. In Dubai, he had been out second ball to a debatable lbw decision, with the ball appearing to be headed down the leg side. This time, Sandeep dismissed him first ball, caught behind down the leg side. There was a sound as ball passed bat, but replays suggested the ball had brushed the ground just as Wriddhiman Saha scooped it up with the webbing of his right glove. Royal Challengers were 8 for 2, and 199 looked like 299.
They were never going to get close after that, and Sandeep dented them once again with the wicket of Parthiv Patel in his next over. Royal Challengers' subsequent struggles were encapsulated by Yuvraj Singh, who kept getting beaten by the spinners during a painful 11-ball stay that ended when he gave debutant offspinner Shivam Sharma his first wicket in senior cricket. It was 50 for 5 at that point, but AB de Villiers ensured Royal Challengers reached a respectable score with a 26-ball 53.
When his team was asked to bat, Kings XI captain George Bailey said it was hard to tell what a good score would be, considering the flat pitch and short boundaries at Chinnaswamy Stadium. His team never had to worry about their run-rate, though, after they reached 64 for 1 after 6 overs - it was the most they had made during the Powerplay this season.
Virender Sehwag had played some aggressive shots in that time, but hadn't really exploded. But the bowlers had helped Kings XI along, bowling eight extra balls in those first six overs. Amidst all that, Mitchell Starc and Albie Morkel had also discovered that this pitch had a little more help for the bowlers than it usually does, and were getting their cutters to grip and deviate.
Yuzvendra Chahal, the legspinner, also settled in nicely, and dismissed both Sehwag and Glenn Maxwell. Kings XI were scoring rapidly, but they were losing wickets. But they still had Miller, and he was in terrific form.
On this day, Miller hit only three sixes, but he was hitting the ball cleanly along the ground placing it with rare precision. He hit Varun Aaron for three fours in the 10th over, and smashed Starc for three fours in the 13th.
The bowler who suffered most, though, was Harshal Patel, who would eventually finish with figures of 2 for 56 in three overs. The Haryana seamer had conceded two fours in his first over - one each to Sehwag and Maxwell - and had taken a nine-over sabbatical before coming back on. Immediately, Miller laid into him, clouting him over a leaping deep midwicket for six, dumping him back over his head and onto the roof of the stadium, and pulling him behind square for four, off his first three deliveries. Wriddhiman Saha got into the act in the same over, slog-sweeping him for six.
Miller's dismissal in the next over saw Kings XI lose some momentum, at least relative to what had gone before. They made 28 off the last 21 balls of their innings, and Royal Challengers seemed to have done well to keep them to under 200. All of that, however, ceased to matter after that one over from Sandeep.
Karthik Krishnaswamy is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo