Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Maxwell cracked 15 boundaries during his knock of 95
Australia all-rounder Glenn Maxwell blasted a spectacular 95 to lead the Kings XI Punjab to a six-wicket win over the Chennai Super Kings in a high-scoring thriller in Abu Dhabi.
Maxwell was brilliantly supported by South Africa batsman David Miller, who smashed a quickfire half-century.
Chennai’s opening pair of Dwayne Smith and Brendon McCullum both deserve some credit as well as they both scored entertaining half-centuries.
Chennai captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni would have been beaming from ear to ear with his decision to bat first as Smith and McCullum demolished Punjab’s bowling to amass a 123-run partnership, during which McCullum brought up his half-century, before he was caught by Maxwell at deep midwicket off the bowling of Akshar Patel.
McCullum’s fantastic knock of 67 came off 45 balls and included four boundaries and five sixes.
Smith also went on to bring up his half-century, but failed to convert it into a bigger score as he was caught by Punjab captain George Bailey in the cover region off the bowling of Lakshmipathy Balaji.
Smith’s superb innings of 66 came off 43 balls and included six boundaries and three sixes.
Suresh Raina managed to make 24 runs before he was caught by Virender Sehwag at short fine leg off the bowling of Parvinder Awana.
Dhoni smashed a quickfire 26 before he was caught by Rishi Dhawan at long-off off the last ball of the innings.
Thanks to Smith and McCullum, the Super Kings finished on 205/4 off their 20 overs.
Balaji was the pick of the bowlers with two wickets, while Awana and Patel chipped in with one wicket apiece.
Chasing a formidable target of 206 to win, Punjab got off to a poor start as Sehwag was clean bowled by Ashish Nehra for 19.
Cheteshwar Pujara only made 13 runs before he was given out lbw off the bowling of Ravichandran Ashwin.
Patel failed to have an impact as well as he too was given out lbw off the bowling of Ashwin.
Maxwell and Miller stabilised the innings with a vital 115-run partnership, during which Maxwell brought up his half-century, before he was clean bowled by Smith for 95 off 43 balls, which included 15 boundaries and two sixes.
Miller went on to score an unbeaten 54 off 37 deliveries, which included three boundaries and three sixes, to help Punjab stun the Super Kings by chasing down their target of 206 with seven balls to spare.
Ashwin was the most successful bowler with two wickets, while Nehra and Smith snapped up one wicket each.
Dhoni was still in shock at what he had just witnessed, and said: “When you score 200, you have to remember the opposition has every chance of scoring it as well. Fantastic wicket, they batted really well. We should have done better with the ball. [Bravo going off injured] Still he was not fit to bowl today, we played him as a batsman so we were a bowler short. The batsmen did their job, bowlers should have had different plans for different individuals and bowl [in the] right areas. The margin of error is very small. Overall it will be difficult for the bowlers. Not much spin. The game was down to the batsmen, we did well but they beat us fair and square.”
Bailey was ecstatic with his team’s incredible performance, and said: “Just try and be positive. It was a pretty good wicket. We pulled it back with the ball in the middle overs considering they were heading for 230. Maxi has been in great touch and we hope he carries on for Punjab.”
Maxwell was named Man of the Match, and said: “I play with the bowler to try and upset the bowler and find the gaps. Feels pretty good to chase down 200-plus against Chennai, they’re a pretty good team. Hopefully the batsmen can keep it up and the bowlers can chip in as well.”