Sandeep Sharma, Kings XI Punjab, Mayank Agarwal, RPS, IPL 2017
Sandeep Sharma celebrates after castling Mayank Agarwal, April 8, 2017IANS

Glenn Maxwell showed he might just be the man to lead Kings XI Punjab to Indian Premier League glory, leading the team well in the field and with the bat to help his team being their IPL 2017 campaign in fantastic fashion. Up against an RPS team with momentum following a win on Thursday, KXIP did the business with the ball, before coolly chasing down the target.

The toss has become so important in these matches and on another chasing ground that is Indore, Maxwell had no hesitation to bowl first.

RPS just could not get going at the top and while Ben Stokes did his best to push the total to 163, Kings XI Punjab, with Maxwell playing a smashing innings down the order, overhauled it with plenty to spare.

Manan Vohra (14, 9b, 1x4, 1x6) got Kings XI off to a quick start, hitting a couple of boundaries and a six, but, as is so often the case, the opener could not temper his aggression.

Another attempt at a big shot, when it wasn't required, led to his dismissal, with Wriddhiman Saha (13, 9b, 3x4) also falling inside the Powerplay, to that brilliant spinner who loves a celebration – Imran Tahir.

Despite losing those two wickets, though, KXIP still got 56 runs in the first six overs, which meant, as long as they kept their head, they were on course to reach the target.

With Maxwell and Miller in the lineup, KXIP surprisingly sent Axar Patel to join Hashim Amla

And it became a little more puzzling, because there was a bit of a lull in the scoring, as Axar and Amla scored at about a run-a-ball, which just increased the pressure of the chase a touch.

It was still well within control, however, as long as the wickets didn't fall.

The wickets fell, with Amla (28, 27b, 2x4, 1x6) and Axar (24, 22b, 1x4, 1x6) falling in the space of four balls, both to leg-spinners.

Rahul Chahar, the 17-year-old who replaced his older brother Deepak in the lineup for this match, first picked up Amla, who failed to clear the boundary and found Stokes in the deep, with Tahir then taking Axar, who lifted one straight up in the air, with the bowler himself completing the catch.

With Maxwell and Miller in the middle, though, you would have still bet on KXIP to get home, with the equation reading 79 off 53.

While Miller (30, 27b, 1x4, 2x6) was happy with the singles, Maxwell looked in good touch from the off, smashing a few boundaries early to keep that equation well within reach.

And then it became simple as Maxwell (44, 20b, 2x4, 4x6) stepped into top gear, sending the balls into the stands to hand KXIP a handsome victory.

Ben Stokes, RPS, KXIP, IPL 2017, Manoj Tiwary
Ben Stokes during his impressive half-century for RPS, April 8, 2017IANS

The RPS innings, this time, wasn't defined by Steve Smith, with the skipper falling early – something the India fans didn't know was even possible. Instead, it was the Rs 14 crore man that came to the fore, with Stokes digging RPS out of trouble and giving them some sort of target to defend on a wicket that was two-paced.

Mayank why-does-he-get-so-many-chances Agarwal (0, 4b) disappointed once more, bowled by Sandeep Sharma in the first over, and neither Ajinkya Rahane nor Smith really looked in the zone.

Rahane (19, 15b, 1x4, 1x6) was dropped by Vohra as he went for an expansive shot, but soon after, the RPS opener would hole out in the deep on the offside, while also giving T Natarajan, who was bought for Rs 3 crore at the IPL auction, his first ever IPL wicket.

Smith (26, 27b, 3x4) could not quite come to terms with the wicket and was at a run-a-ball despite facing 26 deliveries, with the 27th leading to his demise, as Marcus Stoinis induced a leading edge.

The stage was set for Stokes and MS Dhoni (5, 11b) to put up a big partnership, but the former RPS captain did not last too long, chipping a ball back to Axar Patel.

So, Stokes it had to be, and Stokes it was, with the Englishman finding an able partner in Manoj Tiwary, one of the forgotten men of Indian cricket.

Stokes (50, 32b, 2x4, 3x6) and Tiwary (40, 23b, 3x4, 2x6) put on 61 in 6 overs to give RPS the impetus they needed in their innings. With Dan Christian (17, 8b, 2x4, 1x6) coming in at the end and pummelling a few boundaries, the Rising Pune Supergiant got to that score over 160, even if it proved to be far from enough.

Watch the highlights of the match HERE


RPS: 163/6 in 20 overs.


KXIP: 164/4 in 19 overs.


Result: KXIP won by six wickets with six balls to spare.


Bowling: KXIP: Sandeep Sharma 4-0-33-2; Mohit Sharma 4-0-34-0; Axar Patel 4-0-27-1; T Natarajan 3-0-26-1; Marcus Stoinis 3-0-28-1; Swapnil Singh 2-0-14-1.


RPS: Ashok Dinda 3-0-26-1; Dan Christian 2-0-23-0; Ben Stokes 4-0-32-0; Imran Tahir 4-0-29-2; Rahul Chahar 4-0-32-1; Rajat Bhatia 2-0-20-0.


Fall of wickets: RPS: 1/1, Mayank Agarwal (0.5 overs); 36/2, Ajinkya Rahane (6.2 overs); 49/3, Steve Smith (8.1 overs); 71/4, MS Dhoni (11.2 overs); 132/5, Ben Stokes (17.3 overs); 162/6, Dan Christian (19.5 overs).


KXIP: 27/1, Manan Vohra (2.5 overs); 49/2, Wriddhiman Saha (5.2 overs); 83/3, Hashim Amla (10.4 overs); 85/4, Axar Patel (11.1 overs).