David Miller bludgeoned his way to a sensational 38-ball 101 as Kings XI Punjab pulled off a dramatic six-wicket win over Royal Challengers Bangalore in their Pepsi IPL match, in Mohali, on Monday.
Miller played one of the most breathtaking knocks in IPL history and shared an unbelievable unbeaten 130-run stand for the fourth wicket with Rajgopal Satish (27) as the hosts overhauled the imposing 191-run target with 12 balls to spare.
Miller left Bangalore shell shocked as Punjab were struggling at 68 for four in 10 overs and 85 for 4 after 13 and not even the die-hard Punjab fans would have predicted such a result.
But the left-hander surprised one and all with his power-hitting as he struck eight fours and seven sixes. He completed his century and the victory with a massive six off Chris Gayle off the last ball of the 18th over. The South African left-hander also registered the third fastest century in the IPL.
In the last five overs, Punjab scored 99 runs as it rained sixes and fours from the blade of Miller, who registered the fourth century of the ongoing tournament.
It all started in the 14th over when Miller was dropped by Virat Kohli on the leg side with his score on 41 as the RCB captain failed to took a simple high catch. He made Bangalore pay big time for that miss as he went on to collect 17 runs from that over bowled by Vinay Kumar and exploded from that point to script one of the greatest turnarounds in the IPL.
RP Singh and Bangalore were in for a rude shock as Miller went hammer and tongs, creaming the paceman for two fours and three sixes, taking 26 runs from that over.
Those two overs changed the whole complexion of the match.
Earlier, Chris Gayle tormented the Punjab bowlers with a stroke-filled 61 and Cheteshwar Pujara made a good comeback from injury with a superb 51-run knock as Bangalore scored an imposing 190 for three.
Pujara, playing his first match of the season after recovering from a hand injury, and Gayle shared a 102-run stand for the first wicket.
Gayle took just 33 balls for his knock, laced with six fours and three sixes, while Pujara scored 51 off 48 balls and helped himself with eight shots to the fence.
AB de Villers came up with a 38-run cameo off just 19 balls towards the end to propel Bangalore to a huge score. Punjab's chase depended much on how Shaun Marsh (6) performed but he perished early along with the other opener Mandeep Singh (16). Marsh was caught at covers by de Villiers off Ravi Rampaul while Vinay Kumar had Singh caught behind.
Leg-spinner Piyush Chawla was the best Punjab bowler to watch as he bowled a probing line and varied his pace superbly to trouble the batsmen. He did not get a wicket but conceded just 26 runs in his four overs.
Manpreet Gony dismissed bowled both Gayle and Pujara and the visitors lost skipper Kohli (14) cheaply after that but de Villiers ensured that the good start did not go waste with a quickfire knock at the end.
He collected 21 runs off the final over, bowled by debutant Michael Neser along with Moises Henriques.
A tentative Pujara was slow off the blocks but the marauding West Indian was his usual aggressive self. He hit gigantic sixes off Neser, as the two openers reeled off 18 runs from South African paceman's first over.
As if the Gayle bashing was not enough, Pujara too got into the act, scoring a hat-trick of boundaries off Gony in the next over as Bangalore raced to 58 for none in six overs.
Even Gayle's mishits were kissing the boundary ropes as he raced to his half-century in 27 balls.
Gony returned and was hoicked for a six by Gayle but he had his revenge when he uprooted Gayle's stumps in the next ball. That wicket did affect the run-rate even as skipper Kohli and Pujara took the side to 133 for one in 15 overs.
Gony returned and bowled Pujara, when he dragged one back on the stumps. Pravinder Awana got rid of Kohli, who miscued a pull on a rising ball.
Punjab innings never got the going as they buckled under the pressure of chasing a mammoth target. Spinner Murali Kartik added to their misery by trapping Gurkeerat Singh (20), leaving the hosts struggling at 51 for three.
Kartik returned and saw the back of rival captain David Hussey (13) and with that whatever little hopes Punjab had in making a comeback, ended.
However, sensational power-hitting by Miller brought Punjab back in the match from nowhere and kept their hopes alive of making it to the play-offs.