Kings XI Punjab were huffing and puffing, trying desperately to pick up their second win in IPL 2015, with David Miller and Shaun Marsh doing their best to top the Rajasthan Royals in a big chase, and when those two left-handers lost their wickets, the match seemed gone. But, a boundary off the last ball from Axar Patel took the match to the spectacle we haven't witnessed in IPL 2015 yet – a Super Over – and there the KXIP mojo returned in some seriously nerve-wracking style.
Needing 14 runs to win in the final over from James Faulkner, Kings XI Punjab, with all their recognised batsmen gone, looked down and out, only for some seriously good scrambling, poor throwing and a last-ball four to take the game into the penalty shootout of cricket, after both sides finished on exactly identical scores of 191/6 after 40 enthralling overs.
In the Super Over, Kings XI Punjab, batting first, started off in the worst possible manner as David Miller was given out lbw to Chris Morris after missing a full toss. Then came Shaun Marsh, with a flay outside off for a boundary – a ball which was also called a no-ball for an above waist-high full toss -- a pull to midwicket for another four and then a thumping drive straight back for a third consecutive four.
Morris did well to come back in the next two balls, restricting Marsh to just one run, which meant, RR needed 16 runs for a win.
Mitchell Johnson was the go-to man with the ball for KXIP, with fellow Australians Shane Watson and James Faulkner given the task of guiding the Royals home. Miller fell first ball to Morris in the first over of the Super Over, and the script was the same in the second as well, as a perfect yorker from Johnson knocked Watson's timber over. Another Aussie in Steven he-can-do-no-wrong Smith walked out, and he edged a full toss to third man for a boundary, with the ball also being called a no-ball (déjà vu anyone?).
A single to mid-off followed, and then a swing and a miss from Faulkner seemed OK, with the Royals needing 10 from three balls. But, Saha decided to finish the match then and there, as the wicketkeeper, seeing Faulkner out of his crease, brilliantly threw the wickets down to inflict the second wicket to end the Super Over and the match.
Put into bat in their adopted home ground of Ahmedabad, the Rajasthan Royals did what they have done for pretty much this entire IPL 2015 – bat around Ajinkya Rahane. The Mumbaikar has been easily the best batsman in the IPL this season, and that wonderful run of form continued with a perfectly timed, in more ways than one, 74 (54b, 6x4, 2x6).
The rest of the Royals batsmen, chief of them being Watson (45, 35b, 5x4, 2x6) and the always brutal Deepak Hooda (25, 13b, 2x4,1 x6), did their bits as well to take their team to a daunting 191/6 in the 20 overs.
If KXIP were going to make a fist of the chase they were going to need a Rahane-like innings and a couple of their other smash-bangers to smash-bang in style, but, yet again, the majority of those high-profile players disappointed.
Only Marsh, in for the injured George Bailey, and Miller really put up a fight, with "Killer Miller" hitting a few of those balls that were in his arc out of the park.
A solid start was thrown out when Virender Sehwag, after a "yes, no, yes no" was brilliantly run out by the always brilliant Steven Smith, with Murali Vijay (21, 18b, 2x6) then caught out of his crease by some quick work from Rahul Tewatia.
So, the scene was perfectly set for Glenn "Big Show" Maxwell to take charge, but that all-too-predictable slash across the line to Pravin Tambe resulted in his dismissal, leaving it all to do for Marsh and Miller.
The Aussie-South African duo, needing 133 in 11.2 overs, nearly pulled off the impossible as well, putting on 58 in just a shade under six overs, but once Marsh (65, 40b, 5x4, 3x6) got out, the boundary-hitting duties fell just a tad too much on Miller (54, 30b, 1x4, 5x6), or so it seemed, with the left-hander falling in the fifth ball of the 18th over, leaving the KXIP needing another 26 runs in 13 balls.
Mitchell Johnson and Axar Patel somehow found their way into the final over, to get to that final boundary off the last ball to cue the Super Over drama.