IPL: Maxwell pummels Chennai to take Punjab back on top

Another missed century by the explosive Australian batsman, but Punjab are not complaining as his and Miller's brilliance gives them a comfortable win and lead again at the top of the table.
Glenn Maxwell has missed out on a century for the fourth time this season for Kings XI Punjab, but leads the run charts. Pawan Singh / The National
Glenn Maxwell has missed out on a century for the fourth time this season for Kings XI Punjab, but leads the run charts. Pawan Singh / The National

Punjab 231-4 (20 ov)

Chennai xxx-x (20 ov)

Toss: Chennai, elected to field

Punjab: Maxwell 90, Miller 47, Bailey 40; Mohit 2-38

Chennai: Du Plessis 52, Raina 35, McCullum 33; Johnson 2-37

Man of the match: Glenn Maxwell (Punjab)

Glenn Maxwell continued his blistering form in the Indian Premier League this season as Kings XI Punjab beat Chennai Super Kings by 44 runs in a top-of-the-table clash in Cuttack yesterday.

Maxwell was part of a 135-run third wicket stand with David Miller, off just 64 balls, which provided the base for Punjab to amass 231 for four, the highest total of the tournament in this seventh season.

It was too big a peak for Chennai to scale despite some late fireworks by Faf du Plessis.

Maxwell’s 38-ball 90 was studded with six fours and eight sixes. He blasted the Chennai bowlers all over the park at will, especially singling out India off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, who was smashed for 21 runs in his second over to force him out of the attack.

There was no respite for the other bowlers either as David Miller (47 off 32), promoted to No 4, and George Bailey (40 not out from 13), assisted the demolition job to power the team to the fifth highest total for a side batting first in the history of the tournament.

After being sent in, Punjab made a positive start with Virender Sehwag striking the ball well and he took to Ishwar Pandey with three boundaries in an over.

Mandeep Singh, whom Punjab had retained in a surprise move at the February auctions, was ­Sehwag’s new partner at the top of the order, replacing Cheteshwar Pujara.

Mandeep threw his wicket away, though, as an adventurous shot off Mohit Sharma saw him caught at third man.

Sehwag, who faced 23 deliveries for his 30, followed suit soon as he played the ball on to his stumps while trying to guide one that bounced more than he anticipated.

With Punjab 38 for two in the sixth over, that brought the destructive Maxwell and Miller together and the duo put on an electric partnership to entertain the 45,000-plus crowd that had packed the Barabati Stadium to capacity on a sultry night.

Chennai lost in-form Dwayne Smith early in their chase when he mistimed a ball from Sandeep Sharma while trying to force a shot that ended up in the hands of Mitchell Johnson at short third man.

Suresh Raina then joined Brendon McCullum at the crease, going past 3,000 IPL runs on his way to a quick 35, but with Chennai 56 for one in the eighth over, Maxwell got into the act again, this time with the ball. Raina failed to connect with an arm ball and was caught by Miller, who ran in from long-off to complete an impressive catch diving forward.

Ravindra Jadeja tried to repair the damage with some bold hits that found the fence, but was baffled by a delivery from Rishi Dhawan that slipped behind to clip his leg stump.

Finally, the cookie started to crumble for Chennai when McCullum was run out by an excellent direct hit from Johnson. They were 98 for four then, still 134 runs away from a win with only 48 balls in hand.

With nothing to lose, Dhoni and du Plessis went ahead with their natural game during a partnership of 61. Du Plessis did the bulk of the scoring with a 25-ball 52.

Johnson returned for his final over and bagged both, adding further to Punjab’s dominance in what always seemed set to be a comfortable win.

Victory took Punjab level on points with Chennai – they both have 12 points – but on top of the table thanks to a superior net run rate. The 10-over mark scores provided the best illustration of both sides’ fortunes on the day.

Chennai were 85 for two, well ahead of Punjab’s 69 for two at that stage, but in the end it was the Maxwell-Miller magic and Bailey’s late blitz that proved to be the real difference.

Himanish Bhattacharjee is sub-editor at Wisden India. For more on IPL, visit wisdenindia.com or their Twitter account @wisdenindia

You can follow us on Twitter at @SprtNationalUAE

Published: May 7, 2014 04:00 AM

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