Chennai Super Kings v Kings XI Punjab, IPL 2014, Abu Dhabi April 18, 2014

Maxwell, Miller orchestrate clinical chase of 205


Punjab 206 for 4 (Maxwell 95, Miller 54*) beat Chennai 205 for 4 (McCullum 67, Smith 66) by six wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

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Huddle - New-look Punjab have the goods

A successful chase of a target in excess of 200 is normally furious, full of power and towering shots. Glenn Maxwell and David Miller did it differently for Punjab. They hit only five sixes - three of those after the 15th over, by which time Punjab were firm favourites - and turned the game during a 115-run stand that was driven by Maxwell's surgical placement and Miller's calm supporting act. Chennai were overtaken with seven balls to spare.

There were only four notable performers in the game and all of them were overseas players. Maxwell and Miller's clinical middle-order partnership came after Chennai's new openers batted as though powered by rocket-fuel. Brendon McCullum and Dwayne Smith also scored half-centuries and ransacked 123 in 12.4 overs, but their fierce partnership was not the best batting effort on a scorching Abu Dhabi afternoon.

Chasing 205, Punjab had slipped to 52 for 3 in 5.1 overs. Three Indian batsmen had been dismissed - Virender Sehwag, Cheteshwar Pujara and Akshar Patel - and the game hinged on how Maxwell, Miller and George Bailey would fare. Not one to waste time, Maxwell countered R Ashwin's wide-outside-leg line from round the wicket by reverse-swatting his first ball to the point boundary. That set the tone for an innings filled not only by such unorthodoxy - there were several more reverse-sweeps and pulls - but also by textbook drives and perfectly-timed pushes between mid-off and cover.

Maxwell's placement was largely impeccable. Most of his airborne shots were into gaps in the outfield, but two were not and Chennai failed to catch them. On 37, Maxwell reverse-swept Ravindra Jadeja but the top edge was fluffed by Ashish Nehra at short third man, and on 77 the substitute Samuel Badree put down a chance at deep square leg. Miller also had a let-off - on 17, two balls after Maxwell's first reprieve - but it was a much tougher chance that Faf du Plesiss put down at short cover.

Around the time Maxwell passed fifty off his 25th delivery, Miller had scored only a run-a-ball 21. He wasn't struggling, however. He was playing an excellent second fiddle, turning the strike over and ensuring the pressure didn't mount though the asking-rate was approaching two a ball.

Punjab needed 113 off 60 balls and took 23 runs off the next two overs. The 13th over from spinner Pawan Negi was the turning point, when Maxwell found the leg-side boundary three times and the cover boundary once to take 22 runs off it. The equation had been hacked to 68 off 42 balls, and Chennai suffered a crippling blow in the next over when Dwayne Bravo dived to try and catch a Maxwell reverse-pull - in vain - and went off the field to nurse an injured right shoulder. MS Dhoni had lost a key death bowler. After Maxwell was bowled for 95, Miller stepped up, carting Ravindra Jadeja for two consecutive sixes in the 17th over to ensure Punjab did not trip close to victory.

While Chennai were left to rue their poor catching and bowling, they were buoyed by how seamlessly their new openers settled in. In seasons past, the Chennai method has been for the openers to bat within themselves in the first half of the innings, setting up a platform for the power-hitters to launch from. But McCullum and Smith are the power-hitters.

Smith played the supporting role - hitting his first six off his 24th delivery in the 10th over - as McCullum ran riot before and after Bailey dropped him on 22. McCullum did not discriminate, treating the less-known Parvinder Awana and the reputed Mitchell Johnson with the same aggression. The ball disappeared into the stands between deep square leg and long-on frequently as Chennai brought up their best Powerplay score in seven seasons - 70 for 0 in six overs.

McCullum got to 50 off 30 balls, Chennai reached 100 off 9.3 overs and Smith brought up his half-century off 37 deliveries. McCullum did slow down after his half-century, scoring only 14 off his next 15 balls before his dismissal, and Chennai lost a bit of momentum during this period. Dhoni remedied that soon enough, and when he walked off for 26 off 11 balls, Chennai were favourites. But nobody told Maxwell and Miller.

George Binoy is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Android on April 20, 2014, 7:43 GMT

    my 11 for csk in the next match Mac Smith, raina, aparajith,dhoni Hastings,jadeja,ashwin,hilfi, Mobutu,and pandey

  • Ramya on April 19, 2014, 20:39 GMT

    @wapuser sorry to dissappoint u - this is an Indian domestic competition much alike the ones that are played in England, South Africa, Carribean and Australia - too bad tht the country u support has not been able to succeed in conducting one! But that does not mean u can mock a very successful league!

    FYI Manish Pandey is holding the Orange Cap at the moment & he is an Indian - not an overseas player much diff from ur version of only overseas batsmen making a mark!!! Its very clear tht u are not watching IPL as Virat, Yuvi, Karthik, Parthiv Patel, Rahane, all made half centuries as well.... plz dont mock without any valid facts!

  • Dummy4 on April 19, 2014, 11:40 GMT

    Dhoni is obsessed with batting picking 7 to 8 batsmen in the XI. All the 4 foreign players picked in the XI were batsmen and Du Plessi didn't have chance to bat. None of the bowlers chosen made any impression except Ashwin to some extent. Badree may be a better choice than Negi.

  • subra on April 19, 2014, 10:13 GMT

    CSK bowling looks below par. Even Jadeja and Ashwin have gone for runs-they could not get wickets like sunil Naraine. regarding Ashish Nehra and Negi it looks like there is a big vaccum in the bowling department. Ashish is uite unprdictale and let out Indian team o very vital occasions.

    Unlss CSK strenghten the bowling department it looks like they are out of the competition aleady. The batsmen are ok now but who knows how will they perform in the crux moments. They should give a chance to Baba Aparajith Nehra looks like a bad news to CSK

  • gokul on April 19, 2014, 10:11 GMT

    CSK missing the services of cricket enthusiast gurunath meiyappan.

  • javed on April 19, 2014, 9:21 GMT

    Punjab won only their first match. We canont judge any team with first match. More than half tournament remain.CSK only losted their first match not whole touranment.Punjab batted well CSK have to consider on their bowling.Injured bravo is also concern for CSK.CSK will fight back and lift the cup third time.

  • Android on April 19, 2014, 9:06 GMT

    CSK needs to get Ben in... They need to come up as a better bowling unit than they were in the first game. Also, Dhoni mentioned that Bravo wasn't fit for Bowling in this match even before the shoulder injury... Now they need a suitable replacement for the same.

  • Dummy4 on April 19, 2014, 8:37 GMT

    CSK known for it's slow start! Hope, this time also they reach final and lift the cup! :D Don't under estimate CSK!!! True IPL followers will not do the mistake! :P

  • Straight on April 19, 2014, 8:22 GMT

    CSK never had a good bowling attack. It's the same this year as well. Can't blame the batsmen for this loss. Even if they had scored 220 , Punjab would have won as they still had an over left with Bailey,Miller, Johnson and Dhawan still to bat.

  • varadarajan on April 19, 2014, 8:03 GMT

    CSK bowling lacks punch. There are no wicket getting bowlers. Initial stages of IPL they had Bollinger. Then Albie Morkel. They should have bid and got Mitchell Johnson. Nehra is a liability in the field. and his fielding lapse in dropping the catch was DEFINITELY the cause of CSK losing the match. You can't muff up chances and hope to mwin. Hope they have better bowlers in their next match. Buck up CSK. I am your fan and will be always.

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