Smart Maxwell oversees KXIP’s six-wicket win over RPS

Glenn Maxwell shone brightly under evening floodlights with his unbeaten 20-ball 44. Pursuing 164 on a surface with some grass and bounce, Kings XI defeated the strong Supergiant by six wickets.

Glenn Maxwell en route to his quickfire 44.   -  AFP

 

Glenn Maxwell proved the ‘maximum player’ for his team at the Holkar Stadium here on Saturday. He read the flow of the game superbly and then delivered the decisive blows with the bat. As a skipper, he made all the right moves for Kings XI Punjab. In the first half of the game, Maxwell opted to chase, rung in the bowling changes capably, and smartly had a left-arm spinner operating when M.S. Dhoni batted.

On the chase, Maxwell cleverly held himself and David Miller back, promoted Axar Patel, and got some handy runs from him. When it really mattered, he and Miller launched into the Rising Pune Supergiant attack. The explosive right-left combination powered Kings XI home.

Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Maxwell, the quintessential impact player, shone brightly under evening floodlights with his unbeaten 20-ball 44. Pursuing 164 on a surface with some grass and bounce, Kings XI Punjab defeated the strong Supergiant by six wickets in this engaging Indian Premier League (IPL) game.

There was only one way the match was going to end when Maxwell rocked back to pull Imran Tahir for a six over mid-wicket and then dismissed the next ball in the same direction over the ropes.

Maxwell versus leg-spinner Tahir was a key duel within the larger battle and the Aussie clinched it. Indeed, Kings XI and Maxwell won the key moments of the game. Maxwell, tactically, upstaged his Australian skipper Steve Smith. When Maxwell and Miller (30 not out) cut loose, Smith appeared to run out of ideas.

Tahir had appeared threatening, foxing Wriddhiman Saha with a googly and setting out on his war dance. Then, Maxwell and Miller took the game away from Smith and Supergiant.

Earlier, Mayank Agarwal was done in by an in-swinger from Sandeep Sharma, who bowled wicket-to-wicket and altered his pace. And the nippy left-armer T. Natarajan, living a dream, made an immediate impression on his IPL debut, taking out Ajinkya Rahane will a delivery outside off.

Smith appeared in ominous touch – a straight drive screamed past Natarajan – before being held at deep square-leg off Stoinis. And M. S. Dhoni, caught in two minds, knocked back a flighted one from Swapnil Singh. Dhoni has had his share of troubles against left-arm spin. Ben Stokes (50) and Manoj Tiwary (40 not out) launched a counter attack. Stokes, his back-lift flourishing, bludgeoned a few stunning blows. Tiwary, with his quick hands and bat-speed, thumped a few through the gaps.

It seemed a combative score but Kings XI and Man-of-the-Match Maxwell put their foot on the accelerator in the final stretch.