Mohali: Glenn Maxwell played a scintillating cameo hitting an unbeaten 32 off 14 balls under pressure to power Kings XI Punjab to a six-wicket win over Rising Pune Supergiants to notch up their first victory in the ninth edition of the IPL cricket tournament here on Sunday.
Chasing a target of 153, Kings XI Punjab were put in a spot of bother as they slumped to 119 for 4 in the 17th over after a fluent opening stand of 97 between Manan Vohra (51) and Murali Vijay (53). But it was Maxwell who helped the team romp home in 18.4 overs as they won their first match in their third encounter.
Pune Supergiants have now lost two consecutive matches after having won their first game in Mumbai.
Just when it looked that KXIP were trying to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, Maxwell brought his big-hitting prowess to the fore as he belted three fours and two sixes in quick time to win a match that the home team ought to have won easily.
The fifth wicket stand between Maxwell and Wriddhiman Saha yielded 34 runs in only 2.2 overs in which India's Test wicketkeeper contributed only four runs.
Once KXIP skipper David Miller (7) was gone, there were ominous signs but Maxwell hit a six and four each off successive overs from the two Ashwins -- leg-spinner Murugan (3/36 in 4 overs) and off-spinner Ravichandran (0/27 in 4 overs) to settle the issue.
He finished the match with an imperious cover drive off Thisara Perera.
However, the Kings XI coach Sanjay Bangar should be unhappy that there were tense moments especially after the start that they got.
The elegant Murali Vijay hit 53 off 49 balls with five fours and two huge sixes -- an inside out lofted cover drive off Ishant Sharma and a pull off Murugan.
His partner Vohra got 51 off 33 balls with seven delectable boundaries that also earned him the Man of the Match award.
It looked as if it would be walk in the park before Vohra was trapped leg before trying to sweep left-arm spinner Ankit Sharma. Shaun Marsh (4) was accounted by Murugan with a delivery that went straight and breached his defences.
Vijay got his first 50 of the tournament but then lost his concentration trying to play a cut shot off Murugan.
Miller became Murugan's third victim trying to hit a six but in came Maxwell and did a telling damage hitting him for a six and a boundary. The senior Ashwin was also spanked in the next over and whatever chances of a comeback that Mahendra Singh Dhoni's team harboured went up in smoke.
Earlier, opting to bat, Pune Supergiants managed 152 for seven largely due to Faf du Plessis' 53-ball-67 and Steve Smith's 26-ball-38 as the duo added 63 in 7.4 overs. While Du Plessis hit eight fours, Smith who was initially slow looked like picking up as he hit five well-timed boundaries.
However the Supergiants' never attained the kind of momentum they would have liked as there were as many as 43 dot balls (equivalent to 7.1 overs) and 18 boundaries in all without any sixes.
The searing humidity took its toll as Du Plessis suffered from cramps as he failed to go hammer and tongs despite starting on a positive note.
While the first 10 overs of the Supergiants innings produced 76 runs for two wickets, Dhoni's boys failed to take the advantage of a decent platform that was set for them. The back-10 yielded another 76 runs with loss of as many as five wickets.
Mohit Sharma was used very well by KXIP skipper Miller introducing him just after Powerplay and then using him at the death. He bowled a splendid 20th over in which he gave away only 3 runs and was also on the verge of hat-trick removing Du Plessis and Dhoni (1) off successive deliveries.
At the start of the innings, another India discard Sandeep Sharma (2/23 in 4 overs) bowled well as he removed Ajinkya Rahane (9), who tried to play an uncharacteristic hoick across the line only to be played on.
Du Plessis and Kevin Pietersen (15) steadied the ship with a 55-run stand. It was Manan Vohra, who timed his jump to perfection plucking out a KP flick off Kyle Abbott's bowling.
Thisara Perera (8) was caught at the long-off fence off Sandeep's bowling.
Smith then joined hands with Du Plessis and initially, they found it difficult to get the boundaries. Once set, Smith used his feet well as his partner seemed to struggle in humid conditions as spinners Axar Patel (0/26 in 3 overs) and Pradeep Sahu (0/31 in 4 overs).