Indore: Kings XI Punjab thrashed Rising Pune Supergiant by six wickets to win their opening match of the tenth edition of the Indian Premier League at the Holkar Cricket Stadium in Indore on Saturday.
Skipper Glenn Maxwell led from the front as he smashed an unbeaten 44 off just 20 deliveries to take Punjab to victory in their adopted home ground in Indore. This after the Kings XI Punjab bowlers had restricted the Rising Pune Supergiant to a below par total of 163 runs.
Punjab openers Hashim Amla and Manan Vohra gave KXIP the perfect start and it was the Indian star who took the role of aggressor. After hitting Dan Christian for a boundary, Vohra hit Ashok Dinda for a huge six straight over the his head in the next over.
However, just when the right-hander was starting to take the game away from Pune, Dinda removed Vohra for 14 for their first breakthrough of the innings.
Incoming batsman Wridhhiman Saha hit a boundary on the second delivery which he faced to make his intentions clear. The Indian wicket-keeper was given a lifeline after Christian failed to pluck the ball while fielding in the covers.
Hashim Amla and Axar Patel joined forces in the middle and the duo moved the scoreboard along nicely. The 34-run partnership between Amla and Axar was finally broken by Rahul Chahar, who dismissed the South African for 28.
Axar Patel was the next to head back to the hut as he became Tahir's second scalp of the evening for 24.
The dismissal brought skipper Glenn Maxwell out on the crease, and along with David Miller, started an astonishing counter-attack.
The 'Big Show' simply destroyed the Pune bowling attack and hit boundaries at will. Meanwhile, Miller was content to just give the strike back to Maxwell who seemed in ominous form.
But right at the end, the South African southpaw took the initiative and smashed a flurry of boundaries as Punjab chased down the score with comfortable ease.
Earlier, riding on Ben Stokes' maiden half century, Rising Pune Supergiant posted 163/6 in their designated 20 overs.
Pune didn't have the best of starts as opener Mayank Agarwal was dismissed by pacer Sandeep Sharma on just the fourth ball of the innings.
Skipper Steven Smith and Ajinkya Rahane then steadied the RPS ship by putting on a decent partnership.
Rahane and Smith took advantage of this slip and hit five boundaries in quick successions to put the pressure back on Punjab.
However, the 35-run partnership was finally broken by young Tamil Nadu pacer T Natarajan, who removed Ajinkya Rahane for 19.
Ben Stokes joined Smith at the crease but the latter soon fell to Marcus Stoinis for 26.
The stage was perfectly set for former skipper MS Dhoni to shine, but he was dismissed cheaply by spinner Swapnil Singh for 5 runs.
Reeling at 71/4 in the 12th over, Stokes was joined in the middle by Bengal batsman Manoj Tiwary and the duo started the rebuilding job for Rising Pune Supergiant.
The most expensive foreigner in IPL history – Stokes – increased the pace of the innings in the 14th over, as he hit a four and a huge six off the bowling of Axar Patel.
Tiwary too made his intentions clear by bludgeoning a six on the off-side off Natarajan in the next over. The two scored runs at a brisk pace in the 14th, 15th and 16th overs, as in these three overs, Pune put on a combined total of 39 runs.
Stokes brought up his well-deserved half-century off 30 deliveries and it was the Englishman's maiden fifty in only his second IPL outing. But the all-rounder couldn’t add to his score any further and was caught and bowled by Axar Patel in the next over.
But Tiwary continued the onslaught as he struck a six and a four in the penultimate over of the innings. A last over cameo by Dan Christian ensured that Rising Pune Supergiant gave their bowlers a decent total to defend.