2013, when Gayle had scored his beastly 175-runs against Pune Warriors India. The good ol' times of RCB when he was the spine of the team's batting, when Kohli could miss out on scoring but not him. Best fitted for Test, even Cheteshwar Pujara was a part of the team. Murali Karthik, Zaheer Singh and RP Singh, commentators now, formed the lead bowling attack. The times when Mutthiah Muralidharan's eyes and Tillakaratne Dilshan's dilscoop were one of the biggest entertainers of the game.
The backdrop of the match
Two-time finalists then, RCB had already won 6 in the 11 they had played. Previously winning against Pune in an away match had boosted RCB's confidence. On the other hand, Punjab had lost 6 matches in the 11 they had played. The 3 matches they had played before taking on Bangalore's team were lost by whiskers.
With the usual trio scoring runs for RCB, Saurabh Tiwary had also begun silencing his critics by opening the innings. He scored a couple of boundaries while Gayle watched from the other end. For the KXIP, Shaun Marsh and David Miller were helping Punjab gain momentum with their biggies. But, another loss in the season would have led to their dead-end in the league.
Pujara scores his maiden T20 half-century
Chris Gayle and Cheteshwar Pujara were off to a decent start. Nothing troublesome for the hosts who chose to field. But come the 4th over, the duo began firing. A total of 5 fours and 2 sixes came off the next two overs, with Manpreet Gony taking the maximum hit. The openers had set their rhythm. They rotated strikes when needed and also sent the ball flying over the boundaries now and then.
The partnership went on to 11 overs until Gony's full and straight ball deceived Gayle and bowled him out. Out came Virat Kohli to join Pujara, who was at 35. Another round of overs from Gony and Awana, and Pujara reached his first ever half-century! While the Punjab team was prepared to face the trio, Pujara was the actual trouble.
After the third umpire declared Pujara not-out despite his bat being on the line, nothing seemed to go the KXIP's way. David Hussey, the captain, persisted with Gony-Awana. And the duo did repay the trust bestowed on them - both Kohli and Pujara were sent back in the next two overs.
This wasn't the end of RCB's firing, however. The next partnership between AB de Villiers and Moises Henriques cost them 46 runs in last 3 overs. Although Michael Neser leaked a lot of runs, Hussey still gave him the full quota of 4 overs. This mistake spiked the visitor's total to 190 at the end of 20 overs.
The reign of 'Killer Miller'
Mandeep Singh and in-form Shaun Marsh opened the innings for the hosts. A lot of hopes was vested on Marsh but a mistimed shot off Ravi Rampaul's bowling saw the Australian all-rounder return to the pavilion within 3 overs of the game. Mandeep Singh joined him at the beginning of the 4th over when Vinay Kumar's short ball played the trick.
Despite a boundary here and there, KXIP were struggling in their own backyard. The captain and Gurkeerat Maan, trying to grab a single whenever possible, weren't helping the chase much. Within 9 and a half overs, both of them were sent back as well. The hosts had lost 4 wickets with only 64 runs on the board while RCB had lost their first wicket with 102 runs.
RCB were flaring with their dominance on the field. The confidence had come from a game where their 'impeccable' set of bowlers won their previous match against PWI. But, this wasn't the mediocre Pune team. It was a Punjab team with David Miller.
Post his captain's wicket, Miller who was off his mark already, began with his explosions. He bashed the ball all over the field when the pacers were at him. There were a couple of edged shots that landed safely, in between. However, the turning point of the match was when Miller was dropped at 42 by Kohli.
Boundaries were unstoppable. The partnership between Rajgopal Satish and Miller was worth 100 runs and the match was already KXIP's. They went from 64-4 to 172-4 in just 7-odd overs. With 19 runs required off 18 runs, little did the visitors know that Miller would finish the business in 6 balls.
Hoping for a breakthrough, Kohli introduced Gayle to the attack. This experiment hugely backfired. Starting off with a wide, Sathish hit a six and 2 consecutive boundaries off his bowling. For the last ball, Miller was on strike at 95 and KXIP were 3 runs short of victory. The commentators were screaming, 'Will he finish his century?' Gayle bowled a full-length ball to the middle, he got underneath it and sent it flying over the ropes.
David Miller scored his first ever IPL century that was also the third fastest in the league. He took his team to victory when all the odds were against them - a failure of top-order, the fifth-highest total of the league to chase, dominating opposition bowlers. His feat came off one of the most memorable run chases of IPL that made him 'Killer Miller'.Published 12 Apr 2018, 20:18 IST