Glenn Maxwell smashed 44 off 20 balls as Kings XI Punjab defeated Rising Pune Supergiant by six wickets in their Indian Premier League opener at Indore on Saturday.
Kings XI made short work of the 164-run target as Maxwell and David Miller (30* runs off 27 balls) took them home with an over to spare.
Maxwell's fireworks came after Ben Stokes led Rising Pune Supergiant's recovery with a blistering 50 off 332 balls, helping his team post 163 for six.
With the win, Kings XI have begun the competition on a promising note after finishing at the bottom in the previous two editions.
It was the first loss this season for Pune, who had beaten Mumbai Indians in their tournament opener on Thursday.
Earlier, after the fall of Pune’s top order that left the team at 49 for three in the ninth over, Stokes (50 off 32) showed why he was the most expensive player at the auction with some brutal hitting. He got good support from Manoj Tiwary (40 off 23).
Tiwary and Daniel Christian, who both remained unbeaten, took Mohit and Sandeep Sharma to the cleaners at the end of the innings, collecting 30 off the last 12 balls.
It appeared to be a tricky surface to bat on after Kings XI Punjab opted to field.
Sandeep castled Mayank Agarwal with a sharp inswinger in the first over of the match, though the shot selection of the opener was questionable.
It was a memorable IPL debut for Tamil Nadu pacer T Natarajan, who took just two balls to strike, having the seasoned Ajinkya Rahane (19) holed out at deep cover.
The onus was on in-form captain Steven Smith (26) to bail his team out of trouble. He hung around for a while before he mistimed one to be caught at deep square leg. Soon another experienced batsmen, MS Dhoni, departed and Pune were down to 71 for four in the 12th over.
Stokes was joined by Tiwary and together they scored 61 off 37 balls to set up a competitive total.
The Englishman, who came into the tournament with a Rs 14 crore price tag, slammed three sixes and couple of hours in his blazing knock.
Tiwary was not far behind with three fours and two sixes and ended up having a better strike rate than Stokes.
Christian hammered Sandeep for couple of hours and a maximum in the 20th over to push the score beyond 150.
(With inputs from PTI)
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