It takes a special innings to overshadow the IPL behemoth that is Chris Gayle. David Miller did just that and how, scoring an unbelievable 101 from 38 balls to single-handedly hand Kings XI a stunning six-wicket victory over the Royal Challengers Bangalore in an IPL 2013 game for the ages.
Gayle's 175 has been the standout innings of IPL 2013 so far, but Miller, with his clean and ridiculously effective hitting, came close, very close, to eclipsing any knock in the history of the IPL.
Chasing 191, after RCB had posted 190 for three, thanks to a quickfire half-century from Gayle, the Kings XI pulled a rabbit out of the hat courtesy Miller Time to annihilate the target in just 18 overs.
The win, their fifth in 11 games, keeps Kings XI in the reckoning for the playoffs, while RCB are stuck on seven wins from 12 matches.
The Kings XI were never really in the game after the first ten overs, with RCB in cruise mode, as the home side lost wickets at regular intervals.
All eyes were on Shaun Marsh, the Kings XI batsman most capable of anchoring the chase, but the Australian was walking back to the pavilion in the third over after scoring just six runs, after mistiming a drive, off Ravi Rampaul, straight to AB De Villiers at extra cover.
Mandeep Singh (16, 12b, 3x4) did not last too long either, bottom edging one to wicketkeeper Arun Karthik off R Vinay Kumar.
Gurkeerat Singh and David Hussey got off to starts, but failed to capitalise as the two fell to Murali Kartik, leaving Kings XI on a precarious 64 for four in 9.5 overs.
That brought on Miller Time, and what a time it was! The South African left-hander just produced some hitting that was out of this world, that even the earlier fireworks from Gayle were put to shade, as Miller, along with Rajagopal Satish (27, 18b, 2x4, 1x6), put on unbeaten stand of 130 from just 8.1 overs - that is a ridiculous run rate of 15.91 runs an over.
Kings XI, after losing the four wickets, needed 123 runs from the last ten overs, at over 12 runs an over, and Miller, with some stunning hitting straight down the ground, brought it down to a makeable 53 from the last five overs.
The 14th and 15th overs were expensive with Vinay Kumar and RP Sigh going for 17 and 26 runs respectively, all thanks to some clean and crisp boundary hitting from Miller - although he was dropped by Virat Kohli off the last delivery of the 14th over with Miller on 41.
Unbelievably, with three overs remaining Kings XI were now cruising, needing just 19 runs, as Miller continued his brutal assault.
Kohli brought on Gayle hoping for a miracle from the West Indian with the ball, but Satish, a mere spectator at the other end, smashed the off-spinner for three boundaries, before Miller (101, 38b, 8x4, 7x6) expectedly dropped the ball into orbit to not only win the game for his side but also complete his hundred.
Earlier, RCB played the almost perfect 20-over innings to put Kings XI, desperate for a win, right on the back foot.
Chris Gayle and Cheteshwar Pujara got RCB off to a splendid start, before the likes of De Villiers and Moises Henriques launched into the bowlers in the final overs.
After a sedate first four overs, the Gaylestorm got going in typical fashion in the fifth over, smashing two huge sixes off IPL debutant Michael Neser.
Pujara, playing his first game this season, reminded everyone of his presence as well, striking three boundaries off the next over from Manpreet Singh Gony as RCB kicked into overdrive.
Gayle quickly raced to his 50 in the tenth over off just 27 balls as the openers set up a brilliant platform. Gayle was dismissed two overs later, though, castled by Gony while attempting a shot across the line, a delivery after blasting another big six, with RCB on a serene 102 in 11.2 overs.
The only surprising aspect of Gayle's innings was the fact that he hit twice as many fours as maximums in his 33-ball 61 (6x4, 3x6).
Pujara was looking really comfortable in the T20 format as well, continuing his boundary hitting with aplomb and reaching a deserved half-century in the 14th over off 45 deliveries.
Gony (two for 41) was the wicket-taker again for Kings XI, with Pujara (51, 48b, 8x4) playing on while attempting a shot across the line.
Virat Kohli (14, 14b, 1x4) followed suit soon after, mistiming a pull shot with Shaun Marsh completing the catch off Parwinder Awana, who finished with impressive figures of 4-0-28-1, considering the circumstances.
That set up the fourth wicket partnership between De Villiers and Henriques, with the two batsmen putting together 46 runs in just 3.1 overs. Neser was the one to get slayed all across the ground, conceding 62 runs in four overs, which included 21 off the final over as RCB raced to a huge total of 190 for three.