David Miller classic brings the house down on Chennai Super Kings

Rashid Khan’s cameo at the end helps Gujarat Titans seal victory despite their having been 16 for 3 and 87 for 5. Miller did his part.

David Miller played possibly his best IPL innings, 94 off 51, to help Gujarat Titans chase down Chennai Super Kings’ 170 from 16 for 3 and 87 for 5. For the first 17 overs, it was Miller or bust with just 43 non-Miller runs in 59 legal deliveries. They needed 48 now, and were 4.2% favorites to win. That’s when Rashid Khan, captaining in the absence of Hardik Pandya, lent Miller a hand in sensational fashion, hitting Chris Jordan for 6, 6, 4 and 6 to turn it into a routine affair for Titans.

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Dwayne Bravo, though, was to CSK’s second half what Miller was to Titans’ first half: he bowled four overs on the trot starting with the 13th for 23 runs and three wickets, but the other end leaked 60 off 23 balls without taking a single wicket. Bravo finished his spell with two strikes in two balls. One of them was Rashid, which left Titans needing 13 off the last over. Miller only had the bowlers for company now but it didn’t matter because Jordan kept missing his yorker, and even bowled a high full toss to let Titans get home with one ball to spare.

CSK will be gutted that they slipped up in the final overs of both innings. After Ruturaj Gaikwad returned to form with a fifty and Ambati Rayudu’s intent promised another big finishing kick, their last six overs produced just 45, the third-lowest for a side batting first this season. That after the preceding four had gone for 58. It was Alzarri Joseph, who dragged CSK back with the wicket of Rayudu after which their deep attack turned the screws. Gaikwad and Rayudu set up for a big finish.

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Miller strikes at perfect time to get this win from CSK at crucial stage

Titans managed to get the most explosive powerplay batter of this season, Robin Uthappa, early in the innings after his highest IPL score, and Moeen Ali’s middling IPL continued to leave the score at 32 for 2 in the sixth over. However, Gaikwad, just 35 in five matches before this, and Rayudu rebuilt the innings looking for a classic CSK acceleration in the back 10. Gaikwad and Rayudu take down the best of them. Aware of the CSK threat in the last 10 overs, Titans brought back the best of their bowlers immediately to try to take a wicket. An all-out assault awaited them.

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Gaikwad welcomed Joseph back with a pulled six before Rayudu charged down at him and lofted him over long-off.

Lockie Ferguson went for a six and a four. Rayudu hit Rashid himself for a six. At 124 for 2 in 14, CSK looked primed. Joseph starts comeback, others follow. Playing his first match this IPL, Joseph made a superb comeback in the 15th over. He kept bowling wide outside off to make Rayudu hit to the bigger boundary. Two plays and misses later, Rayudu somehow caught up with the third, but went only as far as deep point. Mohammed Shami came back with only four off the 16th, ending with figures of 4-0-20-1. Yash Dayal took Gaikwad out with a low full toss for 73 off 48.

Twenty-five balls went without a boundary as Shivam Dube struggled with the slowness of the pitch.Rashid, who had perhaps kept himself back for MS Dhoni, conceded no boundary in the 19th. It was only Ravindra Jadeja using the short leg side boundary against Ferguson in the last over, taking 18 off it, that gave CSK a competitive total. Theekshana strikes earlyWith Pandya, their best batter so far, not playing Titans must have looked to Shubman Gill for a major contribution, but he unfortunately cut the first ball he faced – short, wide, asking to be hit – straight to cover-point. Fresh off a four-four in the last match, turned the screw with the wickets of Vijay Shankar and Abhinav Manohar in the powerplay.

Wriddhiman Saha scored a forgettable 11 off 18 to make it 48 for 4 after eight overs.