In a humdinger of a contest between RCB and Kings XI Punjab, the perennial under-achievers, KXIP, virtually pulled a cat out of the bag as they eked out a famous win from the jaws of defeat. David Miller’s buccaneering innings was simply amazing to watch.
Snapshots from today’s game:
Chris Gayle – Leviathan monster in disguise
Whenever I watch Gayle bludgeon the ball deep into the orbit with that bazooka of a bat, I wonder whether a leviathan monster is masquerading in disguise. When he bats, it seems more like a holocaust taking place on a cricket ground. Compared to some of his earlier knocks, today he seemed a bit cautious. Unfortunately for the opposition, a slightly subdued Gayle still managed to score at a strike rate of 184.84. After Gayle’s mini-storm, the willowy magician, AB de Villiers, put finishing touches to the solid platform erected by the top-order with another of those jaw-dropping knocks.
Darren Lehmann – Deserves a Golden Raspberry Award
Just for picking the greenhorn Neser, KXIP’s coach, Lehmann, deserves to win a Golden Raspberry Award of cricket, for the worst selection of this year’s IPL. With a whippy action, Neser can occasionally surprise the batsman with a bit of pace. But other than that, he just looks like a run-of-the-mill first class cricketer. Neser bowling to Gayle and AB de Villiers felt like a lamb being led to the slaughter. For all his struggles as a batsman, the experienced campaigner, Azhar Mahmood, has at least bowled with indefatigable zest and inexhaustible vigour in the IPL.
Praveen Kumar and Awana get it bang on the money
With a bagful of tricks up their sleeve, Kumar and Awana kept RCB’s flamboyant stroke-makers in check for a while. The key to Kumar and Awana bowling well was that they out-thought RCB’s batsmen by either using the wide yorker or following the batsman and tucking him up. Cricket is like a game of chess, and by checkmating RCB’s batsmen, both Kumar as well as Awana passed the litmus test with flying overs. Unfortunately, all the good work by both seamers was undone by Neser.
A case of deja vu for Preity Zinta?
In IPL 6, a few decisions haven’t gone Punjab’s way. In today’s match, Pujara seemed to have escaped from jail as the third umpire played safe, and didn’t adjudge him run out. The pretty Preity Zinta must be wondering whether this was a case of deja vu, as in one of the earlier games against CSK, Michael Hussey too was lucky to be adjudged not out. A few of the umpires in IPL 6 certainly can’t expect new year’s greetings from Preity Zinta.
David Miller – Punjab’s answer to RCB’s leviathan monster
Even if zillion words like wondrous, stupefying, stupendous, heart-stirring, awe-inspiring, spine-tingling, exhilarating, thrill-a-minute are used to describe Miller’s match winning knock against RCB, they aren’t enough.
There were occasions when it seemed like Miller was telepathically communicating with RCB’s bowlers, as he was invariably getting into great positions to wallop RCB’s legion of medium pacers straight down the ground. RCB’s bowlers were all over the shop, but the chutzpah he showed to consistently deposit their bowlers into the stands will be etched in my memory forever. In fact, just to watch a knock like what we saw today, a cricket aficionado wouldn’t mind walking barefoot for thousands of miles. The cool, calm and collected Miller is certainly the fulcrum of Punjab’s batting line-up.
Catches win you matches
When Kohli dropped a sitter off Miller’s bat, it made me remember the old adage of ‘catches win you matches’. The drop catch may haunt the firebrand captain of RCB for a long time to come, as in the end, it turned out to be the turning point of the match.
David Miller had already shown sparks of brilliance in IPL 6, but his knock against RCB was breathtaking in every sense. On the other hand, RCB continue to struggle while playing away from home.