Indian Premier League 2016
Maxwell closes out dominant Kings win
Australia allrounder ends contest with furious cameo to down Steve Smith's Supergiants
Chetan Narula in Delhi
18 April 2016, 01:35 AM AEST
The Match in a Tweet: Mohit, Vijay, Vohra lay groundwork, Maxi explodes in overwhelming six-wicket win for Kings XI Punjab over Rising Pune Supergiants
The Aussie Pack: Steve Smith played a fine support role at No.5 for Pune, scoring 38 off 26. Meanwhile, Punjab had dropped Mitchell Johnson in favour of Kyle Abbott. Shaun Marsh then could only score four off six during the chase, but Glenn Maxwell was on song, providing a crunch knock in a tight situation. He smacked an unbeaten 32 off 14 balls just as Pune were looking to turn the screws whilst defending 153, getting his side home with eight balls to spare in a composed finale to the innings.
The Underwhelming Performance: There is something incoherent about Rising Pune Supergiants. They started the season well enough, but their past two performances have been flat, mostly in terms of batting. It can be attributed to a hasty job of putting together a team of international superstars, though the timeline of this competition hasn’t allowed them to gel as a unit.
Today's batting effort was the root cause of their second successive loss in this IPL season, after MS Dhoni won the toss and elected to bat. Ajinkya Rahane failed to get going for a second time running, scoring just nine off 11 before Sandeep Sharma bowled him.
It fell to Kevin Pietersen and Faf du Plessis to rectify the innings once again, and they didn’t disappoint, with a 55-run partnership from 35 balls.
Steve Smith tried to bolster Pune’s fortunes, putting on 63 off 46 with du Plessis, the outstanding batsman of the innings. The South African made good on his half-century in the last game, with another one in Mohali, scoring 67 off 53. But they couldn’t provide the impetus their team was looking for in the final overs, with only 21 coming off the last three to finish 7-152.
The Turning Points: Twice, Pune looked set for a tall score. First, when Pietersen and du Plessis were going strong. Their runs came at 9.42 per over, and they were harsh on young spinners Axar Patel and Pardeep Sahu, taking 37 off 27. The script turned when Manan Vohra picked out a sharp catch at midwicket as Pietersen went for a simple flick off Kyle Abbott (1-38).
Second, when Smith had paired up with du Plessis, and had formed a base to hit out in the death. But it was not to be as Mohit Sharma (3-23) accounted for the Australian skipper as his first victim, the batsman out lofting a leg cutter to be caught in the deep. If either of these two partnerships had seen their full course, the script might have been very different.
The Easy Chase: For two consecutive games, Kings XI were made to realise that batting is their main strength. And it needs to come good time and again, if they are to realise any potential of making to the knockouts. They were let down at the start of the campaign, but Sunday’s innings could be the start of a turnaround.
Murali Vijay and Manan Vohra continued from where they had left off in their opening home game against Gujarat Lions, adding 97 off 74 for the opening wicket. Indian Test opener Vijay got off to a flyer, smacking Ishant Sharma for 10 runs in the third over, inclusive of a brilliant inside-out six over cover. Vohra then took 13 off his third over, completing the lanky speedster’s misery in his opening spell of 0-26.
It was a similar script to the previous matches, where Pune’s opening bowlers had leaked runs and Dhoni was forced to make umpteen changes to stem the flow. He deployed the Ashwin spin-twins – Ravi and Murugan – holding back Perera and Pathan for later use. But the Punjab openers weren’t in any bother after their quick start. At the end of Powerplays, they had reached 0-50 and then 0-71 at the halfway mark, even as the two spinners bowled with control.
Vohra then cut loose with three successive boundaries as Perera bowled the 11th over, bringing up 50 off 31. At the other end, Vijay reached his 50 off 48 balls, as they never looked in any bother.
The Collapse: Kings crashed from 0-97 to 4-119 in the space of 25 deliveries to create some panic in the ranks, the equation coming down to 33 off 22.
Maxwell then did what he does best, smacking Murugan Ashwin (3-36) for 10 in the 17th over, and then taking another 13 off Ravi Ashwin (0-27) in the very next one, before a couple of twos and a four in the final over saw Punjab strolled home by six wickets.
The Stat: In ten matches, a total of 95 sixes have been hit in this IPL season. This however was the first time when a team batting first failed to clear the ropes even once, whilst putting up a 100-plus total. The only other instance is that of Kolkata Knight Riders, but they were chasing 99 against Delhi.
The Wash-Up: Kings XI Punjab desperately needed points on the board, and this confident batting performance should put a smile on their faces. They are now placed seventh with two points, just above Sunrisers Hyderabad. But there is still a lot of work to be done, as they need to identify an optimal playing XI, one that is perhaps not solely dependent on its batting prowess.
For Rising Pune Supergiants, the problems continue to mount. In addition to a misfiring batting line-up, their bowling continues to disappoint. Every time this season, Dhoni has quickly run out of options, and this did not change despite Perera’s inclusion today. There is an evident imbalance in the side and the legendary skipper will have to strive hard to solve this mystery, as they have now fallen to fourth in the table with two points from three games.
The Next Stop: Kings XI Punjab now host Kolkata Knight Riders on Tuesday, while Rising Pune Supergiants travel home and will take on the traveling Royal Challengers Bangalore on Friday.