As far starts go, Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) had an excellent one to their fixture against Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in IPL 2021 this Sunday (April 18) in Chennai.
After losing the toss and being asked to bowl first in conditions set to deteriorate for batting later in the day, KKR got the prized scalp of RCB skipper Virat Kohli and their young No.3 batter Rajat Patidar in the second over itself.
On both occasions, unorthodox finger-spinner Varun Chakravarthy was the destroyer for KKR as he got Kohli out caught at the cover region off a miscued lofted shot and then dismissed Patidar bowled with a slider that the batsman expected to spin away. The next over saw off-spinner Harbhajan Singh delivered another tight set of six balls and RCB looked in genuine trouble.
Despite all the momentum behind them, however, KKR made a massive tactical error as they didn’t continue with Chakravarthy from an end in the fourth over and instead went with left-arm spinner Shakib Al Hasan.
While Glenn Maxwell would be at his most vulnerable at the start of the innings, the form that the explosive right-hander had shown in the previous two games should’ve made KKR wary of him and stick to their best bowlers.
But, as it happened, Glenn Maxwell got just the right opening he needed at the beginning of his sojourn, with Shakib failing to execute his plans and bowling poorly aggressive lengths and lines that allowed the batsman to get underneath the ball for his big shots and RCB a way back into the match.
WATCH – KKR err in tactics, execution as Glenn Maxwell makes impact for RCB again
Glenn Maxwell took proper advantage of KKR’s errors and completed transformed the mood of the play by smashing Shakib to all parts of the ground in the two successive overs he bowled. Another exhibition of his lack of control and consistency from pacer Prasidh Krishna didn’t help KKR’s cause either.
When Chakravarthy did return in play to bowl his second over finally, Maxwell was well set at the crease and feeling so much more confident. He smashed Chakravarthy for a six and a four off successive balls and closed the door on the KKR attack. Through that passage of play, Maxwell also helped a clearly struggling Devdutt Padikkal to breathe free a touch.
The impact and intimidation factor that Glenn Maxwell brings to the table was on display even later in the innings when he went absolutely berserk upon reaching the 50-mark, his second consecutive fifty of the IPL 2021.
The dangerous striker kept blazing his willow to all parts of the ground, with the presence of a bustling AB de Villiers at the other end only making it tougher for KKR.
Maxwell’s terrific innings of 78 off 49 balls included 9 fours and 3 maximums. The perpetually intent and aggressive batter dominated KKR’s spinners and pacers alike to set KKR on their way to a daunting total in conditions more favourable to the team defending in the latter half.
Glenn Maxwell has now played three impactful knocks in his first three matches in the RCB jersey, repaying the trust shown on him by the franchise and skipper Kohli to perform the middle-order duties after being picked for a whopping sum of INR 14.25 crores at the auction in February.