Post-match David Miller was both beaming and relieved but it hid a personal disappointment for the newly-appointed Kings XI Punjab skipper. As he saw his teammate and South Africa T20 skipper Faf du Plessis wage a lone battle for Rising Pune Supergiants, Miller would have hoped for a good show himself. After all, being a skipper and also a vital cog in the Punjab middle order, Miller needs to turn his form around.
On Sunday, hosts Punjab were lucky to get a rousing start but the middle order wobbled once again only for Glenn Maxwell to hit some lusty blows towards the end to secure a first win in three matches.
Du Plessis, despite a heart-break in the recently concluded World T20, has hit the ground running. This was du Plessis’ second fifty in three matches, although both have come in a lost cause. After a 69 against Gujarat, the South African scored a fighting 67 off 53 balls in searing afternoon heat at the PCA stadium, setting the stage for a big total. It’s another matter that the team failed to take advantage and eventually set a below-par score. Miller’s form, with scores of 15, 9 and 7, has left a gaping hole in the Kings XI Punjab middle order. In 2014, Miller and Maxwell were in the forefront, scoring runs in heaps as Kings XI made it to the final.
While du Plessis, under skipper Dhoni, has the necessary freedom to go out and bat, for Miller it seems he has been bogged down by captaincy, which has added whole new variables that the southpaw needs to factor in during matche.
As Kings XI fell behind in the run-chase, needing 35 off 24 balls, Miller went for a big shot against M Ashwin only to find Kevin Pietersen at long off.
“Obviously, there’s a lot of think about when it comes to captaincy. You learn that early in the role. Like I said, going out to bat, I’d like to think the same things. Do all the normal things that I normally do. I want to work hard and hopefully in the next two or three games, I can come up with a match-winning innings,” said Miller.
In both the losses before this Sunday’s victory, Punjab’s middle order has been found wanting and with Maxwell signalling a return to form with a blistering match-winning 32 off 14 balls, Miller said he is also feeling good about his batting and it’s just matter of time.
“I’m feeling really good. If that (the ball on which he got out) had gone for a six, I would have continued to take them down. I’ll keep working hard, thinking the right things --- which I normally do --- and I will stick to whatever works for me,” he said.