IPL champs stunned by $2.5m Aussie star

He was the laughing stock of last year’s Indian Premer League, but Australian powerhouse Glenn Maxwell has started his 2021 campaign in blistering fashion.

Maxwell managed just 108 runs in 13 matches while representing the Punjab King XI last year, remarkably failing to muster a six in the T20 tournament.

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The Victorian was subsequently released from the franchise, but snapped up by the Royal Challengers Bangalore in February’s IPL Auction for a whopping AUD $2.5 million.

Inevitably, cricket pundits questioned whether Maxwell would validate the seven-figure price tag, but he quickly silenced his doubters on Friday evening.

The 32-year-old slapped 39 off 28 balls — his highest score in the IPL since 2018 — in a nailbiting run chase at Chennai’s MA Chidambaram Stadium, his explosive knock featuring three boundaries and two sixes.

Glenn Maxwell and Virat Kohli.Source:Twitter

Promoted to bat at No. 4 ahead of South African great AB de Villiers, he combined with Bangalore skipper Virat Kohli for a critical 42-run partnership.

“We wanted Maxi to bat at four,” Kohli said after the match.

“The set-up was such that if we get a partnership, then Maxi comes into the game and he can do what he does.

“Today you saw the result of him playing 10-15 balls, he’s a different player then. He just took the game away from the opposition in those middle overs to be honest.

“His innings, I felt, in our partnership was that momentum changer and that made the job easier in the end. If he had stayed in, we probably would have finished a couple of overs earlier.”

AB pushed lower in the order…in order to give Maxwell more overs to bat. It’s worked out just right for both of them tonight. At least, this one time. Personally, not a fan for AB to batting any lower than #4 though. #MIvsRCB#IPL2021

This makes sense for #RCB: Virat controls the first half of the innings; ABD takes hold of the second. Plays out better than them batting in tandem. The unpredictability of Maxwell thrown in the middle. If Paddikal and new boy Patidar can fire, they’ll be nicely-placed. #IPL2021

The Royal Challengers ultimately chased the target on the final delivery of the match, securing a thrilling win against the defending champions.

Maxwell and Kohli embraced when the Bangalore tailenders scampered through for the winning runs.

Earlier in the match, Indian seamer Harshal Patel became the first cricketer to take a five-wicket haul against Mumbai in the competition’s history.

The right-armer conceded just one run from his final over, which proved critical to the final result.

BEST BOWLING FIGURES FOR RCB IN THE IPL

Anil Kumble — 5/5 vs RR, April 2009

Jaydev Unadkat — 5/25 vs DD, May 2013

Harshal Patel — 5/27 vs MI, April 2021

Samuel Badree — 4/9 vs MI, April 2017

A cluster of other Aussies featured in the tournament opener — Brisbane Heat captain Chris Lynn fell agonisingly short of a half-century, removed by Indian all-rounder Washington Sundar for 49.

Meanwhile, veteran all-rounder Dan Christian scored one with the bat and conceded 21 runs from his two overs.

MS Dhoni’s Chennai Super Kings will take on Ricky Ponting’s Delhi Capitals on Saturday evening, with the first ball scheduled for midnight AEST.

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