David Miller’s majestic 51-ball unbeaten 94 and Rashid Khan’s stunning 21-ball 40 helped Gujarat Titans script a thrilling three-wicket victory over holders Chennai Super Kings in the Indian Premier League on Sunday.
Chasing 170 for victory, Gujarat slipped to 48-4. But South African left-hander Miller put on an attacking 70-run sixth stand with Afghanistan’s Rashid and propelled his team to their target with one ball to spare in the second match of the day 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.
He struck eight fours and six sixes in his 51-ball knock.
Miller, who had announced his arrival on the big stage with a match-winning 38-ball 101 for the Kings XI Punjab against the Royal Challengers Bangalore in 2013, was delighted with his effort on Sunday.
“Yes, took me down memory lane,” said Miller, referring to his hundred in 2013.
“I wanted to see ball, hit ball. Wanted to express myself from the word go. It came off really well.
“Coming in at the powerplay allowed me to shine, when the ball is harder than normal. Got more time too, so that was cool,” added Miller before praising Rashid for his brilliant cameo.
“Rashid’s batting releases a lot of pressure. It was an exceptional innings, for it that over was the game-changer,” Miller said of the 18th over when Rashid hit three sixes and a boundary against Jordan.
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.
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