MS Dhoni was in awe of Glenn Maxwell in the post match conference after the latter had blasted a 38-ball 90 to help Kings XI Punjab romp to a comprehensive 44-run victory against CSK. Such has been Maxwell's performance in this IPL so far that the CSK skipper even compared him to Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag.
"Maxwell batted exceptionally well and he was supported by the other batsmen as well. You need some serious talent to hit those sixes one after the other. He is someone who is very different, like Sehwag or Tendulkar and he is batting at his best," Dhoni told after the match.
Maxwell has taken the IPL by storm and is currently the highest run getter with 435 runs from seven matches at 62.14 with four fifties and a strike rate of 203.27.
Early on in his career, Maxwell was branded as a slogger but there is much more to his batting. He is an astute and talented cricketer. He just doesn't go out in the middle and swing away, instead there is a sense of placement in his strokes. He is constantly looking to take advantage of gaps in the field -- not just trying to go over the fielders.
T20 cricket is not just about clearing the ropes, with time, bowlers have become clever and the batsmen too need to try different innovations to combat the variations.
Watching Maxwell dismantle the CSK bowling was awe-inspiring but it all started with the Ashwin over. KXIP were 69/2 after 10 overs and Glenn Maxwell was batting on 12 off 11 balls with just a single four. Ashwin came into the attack in the 11th over and that’s when Maxwell went berserk. He went on to hit 78 off the next 26 balls.
Maxwell has a special liking for Ashwin. It all started during Australia's tour to India last year where Maxwell took Ashwin apart with a barrage of reverse sweeps and cultured slogs, unsettling the off -spinner. In the T20I at Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Rajkot, he hit Ashwin for 18 runs off 5 balls with all the runs scored through sixes.
After the India tour, in an interview to Alternativecricket.com, he revealed that he had a special liking for Ashwin, "I rather enjoy facing Ashwin. I find him very easy to pick up. I suppose the challenge is that he has been such a big part of their attack for such a long time. At the start of the series, we identified him as a guy we could target as there are so many right-handers in our team. And whenever he bowled the carrom ball, I thought that was my chance to hit him left-handed... really, to demoralize him and give him no escape. Generally if he is bowling to a right-hander, he would use the carrom ball to stop any kind of attack, so, I thought that was the best ball to attack and make him bowl off-spin which he feels uncomfortable bowling to right-handers."
On being asked if he had any verbals with Ashwin, Maxwell said, 'No, I only told him on day one that I could pick him and he didn’t say a word. I said you keep throwing that carrom ball down, I’ll keep whacking it, and then he didn’t say another word. I think when a bowler knows he’s got someone on top of him, they just go underwater. Especially the Indian side, I don’t think they deal too well with someone being on top of them."
CSK and KXIP have locked horns twice in the tournament and on both occasions, Maxwell has thrashed Ashwin. Chasing a daunting target of 206 in Abu Dhabi, Maxwell arrived at the crease at 38/2 in the fourth over, Ashwin was bowling well and had already taken a wicket.
The first ball Maxwell faced from Ashwin, he reverse swept it through point for four, it was a carrom ball and the next ball he faced, he made room and lofted him over extra cover for another boundary. He just went after Ashwin and hit 30 runs off 15 balls (5 fours, SR 200). KXIP went on to win the match easily with seven balls to spare and Maxwell scored 95 from 43 balls.
At the Barabati Stadium, Cuttack, he had started off cautiously but the first ball he faced from Ashwin was deposited beyond the deep square leg stands and the next one too sailed in the same direction. He took him apart in his next over, hitting two fours and two sixes and overall, he hit 34 runs from 9 balls (SR 377.77) which included two fours and 4 sixes.
Overall in the IPL 7 so far, Maxwell has scored 64 runs from 24 balls with 7 fours and four sixes off Ashwin while the CSK spinner hasn't dismissed him even once. The only time he had got better of the Australian was in the India-Australia World T20 match at the Shere Bangla National Stadium, Mirpur where he cleaned him up trying to play a reverse sweep. In the ODIs too, he has dismissed Maxwell just once. If you take out the Ashwin's bowling figures against KXIP, his bowling figures for the rest of the matches read 21.5-0-117-5 at an economy rate of 5.44 which shows the kind of impact Maxwell has had on the off-spinner.
IPL gave birth to the Steyn-de Villiers rivalry in 2012, but for Ashwin to have any kind of rivalry with Maxwell -- he needs to put on his thinking cap. Because right now, it's just a massacre.
Updated Date: May 08, 2014 17:04 PM