When a team scores 200 batting first in a T20 clash, it is always considered favourites to win the match. But, it is also equally true that one sensational innings can turn such the game completely around. This is what happened in the match between Chennai Super Kings and Kings XI Punjab. Chennai would have been hopeful of a big win after posting a 200-plus score, but Glenn Maxwell played such a sensational knock that Chennai were completely blown away. Both sides batted exceedingly well, but in the high-scoring game, Maxwell made all the difference.
The most amazing aspect of Maxwell’s knock was that he constructed the innings perfectly. Punjab had lost three early wickets, and were in big trouble, but Maxwell absorbed the pressure very well, never allowing the high required rate to get to him. The Aussie big hitter had a fantastic World T20, which gave him plenty of confidence going into this IPL. The new-found assurance was seen in abundance during Maxwell’s innings against Chennai. He has always been viewed as a dangerous T20 player, but over the last month or so, he has really grown as a batsman, evident in his consistency.
Unlike his early innings, this Maxwell knock was not completely built on brute force. In fact, it was his timing and placement that kept Punjab on course with the required scoring rate. Incredibly, he hit only a couple of sixes during his innings, but found the ropes on more than a dozen occasions. He improvised with ease as well, and the Chennai bowlers just did not have any answer to his brilliance. A word of praise must also be reserved for David Miller, who showed a lot of maturity in keeping his natural game at bay, and playing the perfect foil to Maxwell. After Maxwell’s dismissal, he took over and ensured that the game was Punjab’s.
While Maxwell and Miller were awesome on the day, Chennai would rue the fact that they could not hold on to the chances that came their way. Maxwell could have been out twice earlier in the innings, but was dropped on both occasions. Miller also got a reprieve, albeit the chance was a difficult one. Chennai were also unlucky since their best death bowler Dwayne Bravo got himself injured while fielding. Having said that, the manner in which Maxwell and Miller batted, one wondered if it would have made any difference.
Chennai had their positives in the match. Brendon McCullum, playing for his new franchise, was unstoppable at the start of the innings, and for the first half it seemed like the match was only going one way. McCullum did not look in any kind of trouble at all as he blasted boundary after boundary. At the other end, Dwayne Smith also carried on from where he left off for Mumbai Indians. With them at the crease, it seemed Punjab were merely making up the numbers. But the Maxwell-Miller show completely overshadowed the McCullum-Smith one.
--By A Cricket Analyst