Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
After a short break, it seems the Glenn Maxwell show is back in business once again. The Australian all-rounder blitzed his way to a spectacular 90 to lead the Kings XI Punjab to a convincing 44-run win over the Chennai Super Kings.
Maxwell was well supported by his usual partner in crime, South African batsman David Miller, who smashed an entertaining 47.
Coming into this match, the Chennai Super Kings were on a six-game winning streak and captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s decision to bowl first paid dividends as Punjab opener Mandeep Singh was caught by Ishwar Pandey at third man off the bowling of Mohit Sharma for three runs.
Virender Sehwag managed to make 30 runs before he was clean bowled by Ben Hilfenhaus.
Maxwell and Miller stabilised the innings with a 135-run partnership, during which Maxwell brought up his half-century, before Miller was clean bowled by Dwayne Smith for 47 off 32 balls, which included five boundaries and two sixes.
Maxwell ended up scoring 90 off 38 balls, which included six boundaries and an incredible eight sixes, before he was caught by Ravindra Jadeja at deep midwicket off the bowling of Sharma.
Punjab skipper George Bailey and Mitchell Johnson put together an unbeaten 49-run partnership to help their side finish on 231/4 off their 20 overs.
Bailey scored 40 off just 13 balls, which included six boundaries and two sixes, while Johnson remained undefeated on 11 off six deliveries, which included two boundaries.
Sharma was the pick of the bowlers with two wickets, while Hilfenhaus and Smith chipped in with one wicket apiece.
Chasing a mammoth target of 232 to win, the Super Kings got off to a poor start as Smith was caught by Johnson at point off the bowling of Sandeep Sharma for four runs.
Suresh Raina and Brendon McCullum made up for the early loss of Smith with a 51-run partnership before Raina was caught by Miller at long-off off the bowling of Maxwell for 35.
Jadeja only scored 17 runs before he was clean bowled by Rishi Dhawan.
McCullum ended up making 33 before he was run out by Johnson.
South Africa batsman Faf du Plessis and Dhoni gave the Super Kings a much-needed boost by accumulating a 61-run partnership, during which du Plessis brought up his half-century, before he was caught by Murali Kartik at short fine leg off the bowling of Johnson.
Du Plessis’ valiant knock of 52 came off 25 balls and included seven boundaries and a six.
Dhoni went on to score 23 before he was caught by Bailey at midwicket off the bowling of Johnson.
The Super Kings eventually finished on 187/6 off their 20 overs, leaving them 44 runs shy of their target.
Johnson was the most successful bowler with two wickets, while Sharma, Maxwell and Dhawan snapped up one wicket each.
Dhoni was disappointed to have lost the match, and said: “Maxwell batted exceptionally well and he was supported by the other batsmen as well. Where we lost the game was when our spinners came on and they got plenty out of them. The first 10 overs they were only 70 but the next 10, Maxwell got them to 40 over par. You [Maxwell’s reverse slogs] can try, but you need some serious talent to do it one after the other. He is someone who is very different, like Sehwag or Tendulkar and he is batting at his best.
“Very good wicket, bit of bounce for the quicks but in the second innings it became two-paced. It’s very important in a tournament like this, looking to score 230 and getting out for 130, then in the coming games we wouldn’t be able to make it up. If we had got off to a great start, we could have gone for it. But we lost Smith and Jadeja was our final throw of the dice but when he fell, we decided to just play it out.”
Bailey was ecstatic with his side’s performance, and said: “Dont really know what to say about it. It was something brilliant. It was almost the future what we saw there. Maxi and Davey, the shots they played, and even the other young players and their shots. They gave themselves a little time and that was crucial. I had a bit of luck tonight as well. Nice to see a good sized ground, I think we could have defended a little better and it was about being smart and our bowlers are clever. Chennai are the benchmark and for us to beat them a couple of times gives us confidence.”
Maxwell was named Man of the Match, and said: “Pitch was lovely, coming on quite well. The spinners held up a little and we got away quickly. We [him and Miller] love batting together, we talk about it a lot and it was fun to have a big partnership together and hit a few out of the park. Practice it and keep trying to expand my game and try and hit the ball to different parts of the ground. I keep trying to do what I’m doing and we’re winning as well. We didn’t have an idea in mind. I thought the pitch would get better in the second innings but once we went there, we saw how good it was and we just kept going. Kings XI fans have been great and hopefully the fans come out again for us.”