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Harsh Kalan in Mohali 07 May 2013 - 03:23am IST

Great to hit winning six off Gayle: David Miller

KXIP hero now looking forward to away clash with RCB

David Miller’s 101* off just 38 balls is bound to go down in cricket annals as one of the best Twenty20 knocks. Given that this innings – which unlike most other dominating 20-over tons – came during what was by all accounts a failing run-chase, very few words can conjure up a compliment suitable enough to describe the Kings XI Punjab batter’s heroics.

Phrases like ‘Miller Time,’ ‘Miller the Killer,’ ‘Millerific,’ and the like seem all but vapid. However, a simple “You remind me of my young days” by Chris Gayle comes closest when it comes to making sense of what one saw at Mohali on Monday. Gayle, who happened to pass Miller by during his exclusive chat with IPLT20.com, followed up this compliment with an appreciative fist bump.

The respect is, of course, mutual. And even a clean hitter like Miller rates Gayle above the rest in Twenty20 cricket. “Gayle is by far the biggest hitter ever and a great batsman as well. He is good to watch,” he said. “We have got another game in Bangalore and that should be interesting.”
However, the 23-year-old batter did say that hitting the winning six off Gayle was special. “It was really enjoyable for me. It was a great feeling to hit that six,” Miller said.

This “great feeling” was shared by thousands of KXIP supporters at the Punjab Cricket Association stadium. At one point their beloved Lions were tottering at 64 for four, and the 191-run target seemed improbable. It was then that Miller took complete charge of proceedings and produced a gem of an innings.

“Nothing much was really going through my mind when I came in to bat,” said Miller. “We still needed 12 runs an over, and it was quite a lot of runs to get. And I suppose it allowed me the freedom to do what I did, which is just clear the ropes and not have too much pressure. So, it was really enjoyable.”

Miller, who currently averages an astounding 117.33 in IPL 2013, has come a long way in sealing his reputation as a clutch player since his tournament debut last season. Back in 2012, he featured in a handful of matches and sported a modest average of 32.66 while scoring a total of 98 runs.

However, he insists that while the statistics have changed, his batting approach has remained constant. But getting more playing time this season has certainly worked for the South African.

“Nothing much really has changed with my batting (compared to last IPL). In 2012, I came in for only six games and then was off. I think now getting the freedom of playing a few more games is really nice to know, mentally. And it is just one of those things where I am actually loving my cricket at the moment,” he said.

Miller is certainly making the most of the increased opportunities he has got this year. He has been KXIP’s go-to guy in clutch situations – especially during herculean chases. Prior to the RCB game, Miller played similar knocks against powerhouses like Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings. But the innings in Mohali was admittedly different, given that it came in a winning cause.

“Probably, it is the best innings I have played. It is the fastest I have ever played, and definitely the most enjoyable one.” He added, “There wasn’t a different approach in today’s innings. The pitch was a little bit different in Chennai. But I think we left ourselves a little bit too much to get in the Chennai game. Basically, nothing has really changed. I have stuck to what I have been doing and my game plan; and it is just consistent throughout.”

With Miller firing on all cylinders, KXIP are now well and truly back in the hunt for a playoffs spot. “We have got to win, I think, four out of five games. So, there is obviously still a lot of games to play. We have just got to try and win it all,” he said. 

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