South Africa’s David Miller on Sunday said coming in to bat early made him “shine” as his unbeaten 94 led Gujarat Titans to a thrilling three-wicket IPL victory over holders Chennai Super Kings.
Chasing 170 for victory, Gujarat slipped to 48-4. But Miller put on an attacking 70-run sixth wicket stand with Afghanistan’s Rashid Khan (40) and propelled his team to their target with one ball to spare in Pune.
Rashid, an ace leg-spinner who stood in as captain in place of injured Hardik Pandya, smashed three sixes and a four off Chris Jordan in a 25-run 18th over.
Rashid fell after his 21-ball blitz but Miller completed the job, taking 13 runs in a dramatic final over from Jordan.
Miller hit a six after two dot balls, was caught at short third man only for the delivery to be called no ball for height, and then hit a four and finished the match off with a two.
“I wanted to see the ball, hit ball,” said man of the match Miller.
“Coming in at the powerplay (inside six overs) allowed me to shine, when the ball is harder than normal. Got more time too, so that was cool.”
Miller praised Rashid’s cameo.
“Rashid’s batting releases a lot of pressure. Exceptional over, in my opinion that over was the game-changer and he struck it beautifully,” he said.
He struck eight fours and six sixes in his 51-ball knock
Gujarat, one of the two new franchises in the expanded 10-team IPL, consolidated their position at the top with five wins from six matches. Chennai slipped to five losses in six games.
Ruturaj Gaikwad’s 73 went in vain after the opener guided Chennai to 169 for five.
He put on a 92-run third-wicket stand with Ambati Rayudu, who hit 46, after the wickets of Robin Uthappa and Moeen Ali.
Skipper Ravindra Jadeja, who took over the captaincy ahead of the season after Mahendra Singh Dhoni stepped down, provided a late blitz with his unbeaten 12-ball 22, but Miller’s knock overshadowed every other innings in the match.
– ‘Nightmare’ nets –
In the first match of the day, speedster Umran Malik returned figures of 4-28 including a maiden 20th over to help Sunrisers Hyderabad to their fourth straight win as they beat Punjab Kings.
Malik, an up and coming Kashmiri quick who has clocked speeds of over 150 kilometres per hour (93 mph) in this edition of the Twenty20 tournament, claimed three wickets in the final over that also witnessed a run-out to bowl out Punjab for 151.
Punjab batter Liam Livingstone hammered 60 off 33 balls.
In reply, Hyderabad rode on a fourth-wicket unbeaten stand of 75 between Aiden Markram (41) and Nicholas Pooran (35) to achieve the target with seven balls and seven wickets to spare.
Malik’s speed has been the talking point of this IPL and Hyderabad teammate Glenn Phillips said the quick bowler is a “nightmare” in the nets.
“He’s absolutely rapid,” Phillips, a New Zealand wicketkeeper-batter, said.
“Facing him in the nets is a nightmare. I’ve got my chest guard on to not get hurt. Imagine what those balls (during the contest) will be feeling out there.”