For only the third time, the Kings XI Punjab made a winning start to their IPL 2017 campaign and they accomplished this by defeating the Rising Pune Supergiant by six wickets at Indore. The architect of Punjab’s victory was their newly appointed skipper Glenn Maxwell who scored a quick-fire 44 from just 20 deliveries to see his side home.
Maxwell was appointed the skipper of Punjab last month, taking over the reins from Murali Vijay who was later ruled out of the tournament.
RPS’ poor start followed by the brilliant batting from Stokes and Tiwary
The Supergiant, who won their opener against Mumbai Indians, were put into bat by Maxwell. They were off to a disastrous start as they lost Mayank Agarwal and Ajinkya Rahane early. Captain Steve Smith could not last for long and was dismissed for 27 before MS Dhoni followed suit after managing to score just 5 and RPS were tottering at 71/4.
However, a 32-ball 50 from Ben Stokes, assisted by Manoj Tiwary’s 23-ball 40 and Dan Christian’s 8-ball cameo of 17 took RPS to a challenging total of 163/6 in their 20 overs. Sandeep Sharma was the pick of the KXIP bowlers, picking up two wickets while Axar Patel was the most economical, conceding only 27 runs in his four overs and also got the prized wicket of Stokes.
Tamil Nadu’s T Natarajan, who was bought for 3 crores during the auction, also picked up a wicket by dismissing the dangerous Ajinkya Rahane in only his second delivery in the IPL.
KXIP’s steady start followed by Tahir and Chahar elevating the asking rate
In reply, Punjab were off to a steady start as Manan Vohra started well before being dismissed by Ashoke Dinda for 14. Wriddhiman Saha also began well by hitting a couple of boundaries off Ben Stokes’s bowling before he was dismissed by Imran Tahir for 14.
Hashim Amla and Axar Patel could not stay on the field for long and they were dismissed for 28 and 24 by Rahul Chahar and Imran Tahir respectively. This left KXIP struggling at 85/4 with the asking rate approaching 9 rpo.
Maxwell takes centre-stage
At this point, Glenn Maxwell came out to bat and had David Miller on the other end, with both players yet to face a ball. Maxwell began steadily by hitting a six off 17-year old Rahul Chahar who was making his T20 debut. By the end of the 14th over, the asking rate had gone down to 8 and this was before the Australian began his blitzkrieg.
Maxwell hit a boundary and a six off Ben Stokes in the 15th over in order to take the asking rate down to 7 and that was enough to give him momentum. He then went on to smash two consecutive sixes off Imran Tahir in the following over to turn the match in KXIP’s favour.
The skipper was ably supported well by David Miller who showed occasional but sufficient aggression and the Kings XI were just inches away from victory, needing seven to win off the final two overs.
Maxwell and Miller finished the match by the end of the 19th over to ensure Kings XI Punjab register their second victory over the Rising Pune Supergiant in three outings. Like the previous meetings between KXIP and RPS, this match also resulted in the home side winning the match.
Maxwell, who was named the Player of the Tournament in IPL 2014, produced a string of lacklustre performances in the following two seasons with KXIP. However, he played one of his better innings in the IPL when the team needed it most. As a result, he was adjudged the man of the match.
Maxi’s blitzkrieg today is enough to suggest that much bigger knocks are yet to come and being the captain now, he will have to lead from the front and produce such performances if Kings XI Punjab are to replicate today’s performance in future matches.