Glenn Maxwell continued with his incredible batting form in this IPL as he blasted a 38-ball 90 in a stupendous exhibition of strokeplay to single-handedly take Kings XI Punjab to a comprehensive 44-run victory over Chennai Super Kings on Wednesday.
Maxwell, the highest run scorer this season with 435 from seven matches, butchered the Chennai bowlers to submission as Punjab scored 231 for 4 — the highest total of IPL7 so far — after his side was put into bat at the Barabati Stadium.
Chasing a mammoth target of 232, Chennai, which boasted of one of the best batting line-ups this season, could only score 187 for six to slump to their second defeat. Their other defeat was also against the same opponents with Maxwell hitting a 43-ball 95 in Punjab’s six-wicket win on April 18 in Abu Dhabi in the UAE leg of IPL7.
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Chennai suffered a jolt in the first over itself with in-form opener Dwayne Smith getting out for just four.
The other opener Brendon McCullum (33) and Suresh Raina (35) kept Chennai in for a slim chance with a 51 run stand for the second wicket but they failed to keep pace with the asking rate which shot up to nearly 15 per over by the halfway mark.
It was all over by then for Chennai as they needed 113 runs from the last five overs. Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni (23) and Faf du Plessis (52) delayed the inevitable with a 61-run stand for the fifth wicket but Chennai finally found themselves outclassed by a rival team for the second time in the tournament.
With the win, Punjab jumped to the top of the league table with 12 points from seven matches. Chennai have also secured the same points from eight matches but Punjab were on top on better net run rate.
Wednesday’s win by Punjab also snapped Chennai’s six match winning streak in the IPL7.
It was a Maxwell show all the way in the clash of table toppers as the 25-year-old Australian hit six fours and eight sixes to take his side to the fifth highest total in IPL history with the jampacked crowd enjoying the unbelievable batting show, including his three reverse hit sixes.
Maxwell stitched 135 runs with David Miller (47 off 32 balls) for the third wicket from just 10.4 overs after they came together in the sixth over at 38 for two.
Punjab added an incredible 162 runs in the second half of their innings with captain George Bailey chipping in with a cameo of 13-ball 40 not out towards the end.
Maxwell’s score in the seven matches he has played so far in IPL-7 were 95, 89, 95, 15, 6 and 45 before today’s 90.
Except for Mohit Sharma (2/15), all the Chennai bowlers were punished heavily with Ishwar Pandey (0/41), Dwayne Smith (1/36), Ravindra Jadeja (0/37) and R Ashwin (0/38) being at the receiving end as Maxwell hit six fours and eight sixes in front of a packed crowd.
Earlier, opener Virender Sehwag (30) began with a bang by hitting the first ball of the innings. He hit three fours off Ishwar Pandey in second over to give Punjab a flying start.
His opening partner Mandeep Singh, who replaced Cheteshwar Pujara at the top today, was out for just three of the bowling of Mohit Sharma in the fifth over while trying for an unnecessary shot.
Sehwag was non-plussed even after the departure of his opening partner Mandeep Singh in the sixth over as he hit Mohit for a four the next ball. But just when it looked like Sehwag he has returned to his explosive best, he got out next over of the bowling of Hilfenhaus.
The out-of-favour former India opener dabbed at a good length delivery with an angled blade and Hilfenhaus managed to nip it back enough to take the inside edge, hit the pads and cannon into the stumps. Sehwag once again got the start but failed to convert it to a big score in this IPL.
Then the in-form Maxwell and Miller took over and the duo hit a flurry of fours and sixes with Ashwin being the receiving end of the duo’s fury. Maxwell smashed Ashwin for three sixes while Miller did the same once as the off-spinner conceded 38 runs from two overs.