Glenn Maxwell played with a cool head and the right amount of innovation
Australian all-rounder Glenn Maxwell created headlines last year after he was purchased for a cool $1 million for the 2013 IPL by the Mumbai Indians, as reported by ESPNcricinfo. Although Mumbai went on to win their maiden title, Maxwell was overshadowed by the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Dinesh Karthik, Rohit Sharma and Kieron Pollard. The Australian featured in just three matches the whole season, scoring all of 36 runs.
However, the 25-year-old refused to be disheartened and performed well for Australia in the limited overs circuit. In the 2014 player auction for the IPL, he was picked up for a million dollars again (per NDTV Sports), this time by the Kings XI Punjab.
Maxwell played well in the 2014 ICC World T20, scoring 74 off 33 against Pakistan and 45 off 22 against West Indies, both in losing causes. His performances were good enough for Punjab skipper and fellow countryman George Bailey to pick him in the starting XI for their opening encounter in the 2014 IPL on Friday.
The Sheikh Zayed Stadium had already been treated to some ballistics by McCullum, who brought back memories of his spectacular unbeaten 158 in the inaugural match of the tournament back in 2008, which coincidentally took place exactly six years ago. McCullum's knock was everything that the crowd wanted: slam, bang, pow and whack. Not many would have put their money on Punjab chasing down 205, considering their batting on paper ended at No. 6 with captain Bailey.
However, Punjab did not need any more batsmen thanks to Maxwell and Miller. Maxwell, in particular, impressed by striking a fine balance between aggression and composure in his innings, mixed with the right amount of innovation.
If McCullum was all power and brute force, Maxwell wowed the crowd with his nonchalant reverse-hits and overhead scoops, all of which were perfectly timed and effective, save for the one time when he found the shoulder of the blade and skied Ravindra Jadeja when on 37. However, luck was to be on his side as Ashish Nehra almost comically dropped a sitter at short third-man.
On 72, Maxwell was to get another life as substitute fielder Samuel Badree dropped him at deep square-leg. Chennai were to pay for their lax fielding as the Australian went on to beat his highest score of 92 in Twenty20 cricket, before falling three runs later with the score at 167 for four in the 16th over. However, the damage was done by then as Punjab strolled past the finish line.
Maxwell seems to have found the right team in the IPL to bring forth his true abilities and talent. Punjab are not the limelight-hogging, star-studded team that are Mumbai Indians and would provide ample opportunities for Maxwell to shine.
Going by Friday's opening act, Maxwell could go on to make this season his own and finally prove to world exactly why he is worth a million dollars.