Abu Dhabi: A blazing 115-run stand between David Miller and Glenn Maxwell helped Kings XI Punjab pull off a sensational six-wicket win over formidable Chennai Super Kings in their opening Indian Premier League match here on Friday.
Kings XI achieved the target of 206 runs losing four wickets and with seven balls to spare after Maxwell struck a magnificent 43-ball 95 - 15 fours and two sixes - and South African Miller made an unbeaten 54 off 37 balls.
Glenn Maxwell scored a brilliant 95. Pic/BCCI
Virender Sehwag (19 off 10) and Cheteshwar Pujara (13 off 10) started Punjab's chase aggressively before departing in quick sucession.
Offie Ravichandran Ashwin, who trapped Pujara in front of the stumps, earned his second lbw by foxing Akshar Patel (2), leaving Punjab at 53 for two in sixth over.
That brought together two of the world's dangerous batsman in the middle - the big hitting Miller from South Africa and the innovative Maxwell of Australia.
The deadly duo did not disapppoint as they took the Super Kings bowlers to the cleaners.
Maxwell scored the bulk of the runs in their 63-ball stand and was also at his cheeky best. The Australian all-arounder enthralled the crowd with his switch hits and hoicks over mid-wicket.
Like Miller, who was dropped off Ravindra Jadeja in the ninth over, Maxwell also had the luck on his side. The result could have been different had the Australian not been dropped twice.
His whirlwind innigs comprised 15 fours and a couple of maximus before he missed a Dwayne Smith yorker in the 16th over with Punjab still needing 39 off 26 balls.
Miller got into the groove after Maxwell's fall and got his side closer to the target by smashing Jadeja for two consecutive sixes.
With captain George Bailey (17 off 10) at the other end, Punjab eventually strolled to a morale boosting victory.
Earlier, Chennai kicked off their campaign in IPL-7 with a flurry of fours and sixes as Brendon McCullum and Dwayne Smith hit blazing half centuries in a run feast, which powered them to a daunting 205 for four.
Electing to bat, CSK's innings was built on a solid 123-run opening-wicket partnership between McCullum and Dwayne Smith, and a 11-ball 26 cameo by skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni towards the end at Sheikh Zayed Stadium.
The final over saw 18 runs being scored.
Brendon McCullum's innings was in vain as CSK could not defend their 200+ total. Pic/BCCI
While the veteran Kiwi McCullum struck a 67 off 45 balls with the help of four boundaries and five sixes, Smith scored a 43-ball 66 with the help of six fours and three sixes.
CSK batsmen started with a bang and the fifth over saw them stealing 18 runs.
The over proved costly for the KXIP as Smith hit two consecutive boundaries before captain George Bailey dropped the dangerous McCullum off Parvinder Awana's bowling at 22.
The Kiwi batsman then straight away punished the bowler by hitting a huge six.
McCullum brought up his fifty with a boundary off Rishi Dhawan.
The openers sent a lacklustre KXIP bowling attack on a leather hunt and that helped CSK reach 100-run mark in 10th over itself and set the team on course for a massive total.
Both McCullum and Smith played some effective shots to keep the Punjab attack at bay. While McCullum was at his dominating best, Smith was steady at the other end, making sure that the loose deliveries did not go unpunished.
It was the slow left-arm orthodox bowler Akshar Patel who finally gave KXIP the breakthrough by seeing off McCullum.
While Smith was looking to continue the momentum after McCullum's dismissal, Suresh Raina straight away started with a boundary.
Laxmipathy Balaji dismissed Smith with Bailey making no mistake at covers this time.
Determined to capitalise on the solid platform laid by the openers, Dhoni launched an all out attack from the very first ball.
Raina's departure on 19-ball 24 hardly affected the team's rhythm and in able company of Dwayne Bravo, Dhoni managed to take CSK past 200 runs in their allotted 20 overs.