After haggling a lot over a total newbie in the 2013 IPL auction, Mumbai Indians had pipped Sunrisers Hyderabad in clinching Glenn Maxwell. At the same time, Maxwell was being dismissed for a duck against West Indies at Perth. The million dollar deal made Maxwell the most trending name that day. With just eight ODIs and nine T20s to his name, Maxwell was google- searched to get out every bit of information on him. However, discussions over the next few days were turned to whether MI had misread the Aussie’s potential. And he didn’t deliver on the promise immediately. Maxwell sat out the first few matches to be mocked by the public that MI had got a ‘million dollar water boy’.
In fact, Maxwell’s talent remained fuzzy until Australia’s ODI tour of India late in 2013; 53 in Jaipur, 92 in Ranchi, 60 in Bangalore, and all with a phenomenal strike rate, the India bowlers discovered he was virtually unstoppable although the hosts won the series. Now, Maxwell’s game is founded on a mixture of clean-hitting and innovative shots. Slogging, reverse swats, across the line hits and bizarre movements across the pitch at times makes it difficult to expose the chinks in his shot-making.
Just when the debate around his value was settling down, MI let him go, and Maxwell pulled off another million dollar deal, this time Kings XI Punjab splurging Rs 6 crore on him. A team plagued by constant losses and without an explosive batsman who can get them over the line saw a big hope in Maxwell.
On a hot Friday afternoon at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Maxwell did cash in. Chasing a target of 205 in 20 overs, and with Sehwag back in the dugout, Maxwell knew there was no room for caution. A reverse swat against Ashwin was followed by a flowing cover drive off Mohit Sharma. Two more boundaries –against the seamer, through long-off and square leg, followed.
It was a bit of star gazing for spectators, who had to endure the heat at 2.30 pm with no roof to protect them from the scorching sun. And Maxwell’s breathtaking 95 off 43 balls made it worth the effort, overshadowing the brilliance of Chennai Super Kings’ Brendon McCullum and Dwayne Smith. It helped KXIP seal the game with seven deliveries left. McCullum had stepped out, cut, pulled and punched through cover and mid-on, not sparing even the express pace of Mitchell Johnson and Smith joining the fun at the other end.
But Maxwell’s reverse sweeps and classy cover drives enabled him to dictate where he wanted the bowlers to pitch. Pawan Negi had little idea bowling the 13th over: a slog for 4, a pull for 6, sweep through midwicket for 4 and a cover drive for 4 yielded 22 runs, and proved game-changing as well. And before he let a Dwayne Smith yorker dip in and castle him, Maxwell had done the damage.