As a million-dollar purchase for Mumbai Indians last year, Glenn Maxwell did not justify his worth. He played in only three matches and aggregated 36 runs with a highest score of 23 and an average of 18. Before that, in 2012, he played two matches for Delhi Daredevils with little of note.
Maxwell, however, brought his attacking instincts to the fore for his new team, Kings XI Punjab, who bought him for Rs6 crore at this year's auctions. He showed that he was worth every paise of his price by powering his team to a six-wicket win over two-time champions and star-studded Chennai Super Kings at Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Friday.
Maxwell blazed his way to a 43-ball 95, racing to his highest Twenty20 score, as KXIP chased Chennai Super Kings' competitive total of 205/4 with seven deliveries to spare. It was KXIP's highest successful run chase in IPL history. For the record, in a battle between the same teams on April 19, 2008 in Mohali, KXIP posted their highest total batting second – 207/4 – though on that occasion, they fell short of CSK's total of 205/4.
Complementing Maxwell's exploits in hot and humid conditions was an equally-destructive South African David Miller, who played second fiddle when the Victorian went berserk before himself coming to the party to stay till the end and ensure a KXIP win.
You would have imagined KXIP chasing down such a tall score during the days of Adam Gilchrist. But Maxwell's knock on Good Friday would have made Mumbai Indians rue their decision not to retain him in this year's auction.
KXIP, coached by the cool-headed Sanjay Bangar, who was nicknamed Buddha, did not panic at any stage. Not even when Virender Sehwag was clean bowled by his Delhi Ranji team-mate Ashish Nehra after picking up the left-armer for two successive fours the previous deliveries.
Maxwell went about his business picking up the gaps in the fast outfield. He did not go aerial every delivery. In fact, he scored over the infield and through the gaps, dealing in boundaries more than the maximum hits. He scored only two sixes in his knock, which was made up of 15 fours.
When Maxwell ran amok, there was little that even captain cool MS Dhoni of the rival camp could do. Maxwell and Miller shared 115 for the fourth wicket in 10.3 overs, keeping KXIP in the hunt.
Once Maxwell fell, yorked by the gentle-medium pace of Dwayne Smith, the left-handed Miller took charge. While he completed his half-century in style, he was more determined to see his team cross the line rather than look at his personal landmark.
An exciting run chase of this order was made possible by CSK new recruits Brendon McCullum of New Zealand and Barbados' Dwayne Smith. The two raised 123 for the opening wicket, even taking Australia's Ashes hero Mitchell Johnson to the cleaners. The way they tore apart every KXIP bowler, they looked like playing out the entire 20 overs.
However, McCullum was caught in the deep by a diving Maxwell while Smith was deceived by Lakshmipathi Balaji to be caught at covers. Suresh Raina, the most capped IPL player appearing in all of CSK's matches – 100th on the day – and Dhoni looked for quick runs in the last overs to take CSK past 200.