Captain Glenn Maxwell led from the front with a quickfire knock to fashion a six-wicket win for Kings XI Punjab in their Indian Premier League opener against Rising Pune Supergiant here today.
Maxwell made short work of the 164-run target by blasting 44 off just 20 balls as Kings XI cruised to victory with six balls to spare.
His unbeaten 79-run stand with David Miller (30 off 27) took the game away from the opposition in front of a packed Holkar Stadium.
Maxwell's fireworks came after Ben Stokes led Rising Pune Supergiant's recovery with a blistering 50 off 32 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.
With Kings XI 73 for two in 10 overs and needing another 91 for victory, the match was hanging in balance. Then Maxwell came and ran away with the match with some brutal hitting.
The Australian, made captain of the side ahead of established names like Eoin Morgan, hammered four sixes and as many fours to begin his IPL campaign in style.
Miller was mostly a spectator in this match-winning stand with Maxwell, who punished spinners as much as the pacers.
The Australian even did not spare Pune's most impressive bowler Imran Tahir, hitting him for consecutive sixes in the 16th over that virtually sealed the match in Kings XI's favour.
Earlier, after the fall of the top order that left Pune at 49 for three in the ninth over, Stokes showed why he commanded a Rs 14.5 crore price at the auction. He got good support from Manoj Tiwary.
SCORES IN BRIEF
PUNE: 163 for 6 in 20 overs (Stokes 50, Tiwary 40 not out; Sandeep 2-33)
PUNJAB: 164 for 4 in 19 overs (Maxwell 44 not out, Miller 30 not out; Tahir 2-29)
Result: Punjab won by 6 wickets.
Player-of-the-match: GJ Maxwell.