Since joining Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) from the Punjab Kings, Glenn Maxwell has been flourishing in the Indian Premier League (IPL). The swashbuckling batsman has reinvented himself at RCB and the Virat Kohli-led side is reaping the rewards. Maxwell hit four sixes and three fours in his 33-ball 57, which propelled Royal Challengers Bangalore to a six-run win over Punjab Kings in Sharjah on Sunday. This was Maxwell’s 3rd consecutive half-century and overall fifth in the season so far.
Maxwell is rightly declared as the player of the match and he said that at RCB he knows what his exact role is. “Coming into RCB they wanted me to do the exact same role like I am playing with Australia,” said Maxwell at the post in match presentation. Australian all-rounder Glenn Maxwell has smashed a typically pugnacious half-century to earn Royal Challengers Bangalore a second successive play-off spot in the Indian Premier League. Maxwell’s 57 not out was the cornerstone of Bangalore’s 7-164, which proved just enough to earn a six-run win over Punjab Kings on Sunday.
Chennai Super Kings and Delhi Capitals had already made it to the last four but defeat pushed Punjab into a very tight corner. Kings need to win their last league game – against Chennai, on Thursday – and require results of other games to go their way. Punjab batters continued to let down captain KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal’s confident starts in the tournament with the team restricted to 6-158 in its unsuccessful chase. Maxwell had earlier smashed four sixes and three boundaries in making 57, building on the foundation laid by Devdutt Padikkal (40) and Kohli (25), and supported by AB de Villiers (23). For Kings Moises Henriques bowled a miserly spell of 3-12 and Mohammed Shami (3-39) took three wickets in the last over.
“Eight wins out of 12 games is a great campaign, (and) we have two more opportunities to finish in the top two,” said Bangalore skipper Virat Kohli, who won the toss and opted to bat on a slow wicket. “KL and Mayank batted really well, but we knew we were just two wickets from coming back into the game.” Agarwal (57) and tournament top-scorer Rahul (39) took Punjab to 91 in the 11th over before Rahul, the Punjab captain, was caught at short third man. Leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal (3-29) then struck three times in two successive overs that included the dismissal of Agarwal as Punjab lost wickets at regular intervals.
“Our batting has let us down,” Rahul said. “In T20, the top two or three do score the bulk of the runs, but we have missed someone in the middle who scores those 30-40 quick runs.” Maxwell took on spinners right from the word go and he explained the reason behind it. “Sharjah is probably the most difficult to adjust to. The spinners get it to skid on which means you have to be sharper at the start of your innings,” he said.
“Came in at a nice time to bat. Lucky to hit the first couple of risks out of the middle.” Maxwell also showered praise on openers Virat Kohli and Devudutt Padikkal for giving him another brilliant start. “To have it set up by the openers today gave us some time to get an idea of the wicket,” he said. Maxwell, who is in the midst of one of his best IPL seasons, admitted that this is the best he has batted in the IPL. “I feel like the last two years of IPL I have batted nicely,” he said. RCB will be up against Sunrisers Hyderabad on Wednesday in Abu Dhabi.