Glenn Maxwell was handed what has been an uneasy crown for Kings XI Punjab ahead of the 2017 Indian Premier League. And the KXIP captain gave a solid start to the team that finished last in 2016, upstaging Steve Smith’s Rising Pune Supergiant. (MATCH HIGHLIGHTS)
Faced with the first hurdle on the path to redemption, Glenn Maxwell led his teammates from the front with a 20-ball 44* against Rising Pune Supergiant, helping the Punjab side chase down a 164-run target with six balls to spare. (SCORECARD)
Maxwell was ably supported by David Miller, who stayed unbeaten on 30 off 27 balls, as the man dubbed the ‘Big Show’ upstaged his Test skipper, Steven Smith, leading RPS.
Ben Stokes and Manoj Tiwary’s 61-run fifth wicket stand helped Rising Pune Supergiant post 163/6 at Indore on Saturday against a disciplined bowling effort from Kings XI Punjab.
Pace bowler Sandeep Sharma took two wickets while Axar Patel, T Natarajan, Swapnil Singh and Marcus Stoinis took one scalp each.
Kings XI Punjab began the chase pretty well. Manan Vohra and Hashim Amla notched 24 off the first 10 balls, which included five fours.
Though Vohra was dismissed by Ashoke Dinda in the third over, Kings XI were unfazed. No 3 Wriddhiman Saha went for the boundaries with Amla steady at the other end.
Saha got a life in the fifth over bowled by all-rounder Ben Stokes and cashed in by hitting the costliest player of the tournament for consecutive fours.
Just when it seemed the India wicketkeeper would continue his rich form for the national team, he was taken by surprise by Imran Tahir’s delivery. It straightened on pitching and went between bat and Saha’s pads to hit middle and off stump.
Though Kings XI had the likes the Miller, Glenn Maxwell and Stoinis, Axar Patel was sent ahead. Patel began with a four off Tahir, but runs seemed to dry up. During a phase of four overs there were no boundaries as the asking rate rose.
It was Patel again, with a six off leg-spinner Rahul Chahar, who broke the shackles in the 11th over. However, things looked far from easy for Kings XI as Amla fell in the same over, caught by Stokes at long-off.
Patel too fell three balls later, in the 12th over, caught and bowled by Tahir. With the scorecard reading 85/4 in the 12.1 overs, the chase seemed tricky for Kings XI. However, Miller and Maxwell, took charge and finished the match in style.
Coming in to bat at 83/3, Maxwell saw Axar Patel depart. But with Miller, he attacked the bowling of Rising Pune Sunrisers, who beat Mumbai Indians by seven wickets in their opening game.
Maxwell hit Imran Tahir, Stokes and Rajat Bhatia out of the park during an innings featuring four sixes and two fours.
In guiding Kings XI Punjab to victory, Maxwell maintained his love affair with India. In the recent Test series, he had scored his maiden Test hundred in Ranchi. And he vindicated his team management’s decision to name him skipper.
Maxwell would be happy with how his bowlers performed. Sandeep Sharma took two wickets while Axar Patel and Stoinis also performed well.
For Rising Pune Supergiants, except Ben Stokes (50) and Manoj Tiwary (40*), the other top batsmen failed. Smith fell to Stoinis for 26 while MS Dhoni managed just five.