Maxwell’s Explosive Batting Helps Australia Thrash Sri Lanka by 85 runs in First T20

In the 2014 IPL season, Kings XI Punjab had a new recruit acquired for 60 million rupees. In the earlier season, Australian Glenn Maxwell wasn’t properly utilized by the Mumbai Indians but he fully justified KXIP’s acquisition by providing his new team a thunderous start. With scores of 95, 89, 95, 15, 6, 45, 90 in the first seven matches at a strike rate of over 200, Maxwell jumped to a staggering aggregate of 435 runs. In later matches of the season however, Maxwell lost the plot and could only collect 117 in 8 innings. But the start by the Australian took KXIP to the final of IPL 2014. If KXIP failed to repeat their 2014 performance in 2015 and 2016, Maxwell’s loss of batting form was the major reason. On Tuesday, September 6, Glenn Maxwell was back in the murderous mood against Sri Lanka in the first T20 game of the ongoing 2-match series. The David Warner led Australia batted first after Sri Lanka decided to field after winning the toss. Glenn Maxwell was preferred to Usman Khwaja by Warner as his opening partner. Maxwell began slowly but once he read the bowlers in a few overs, he assumed the mettle of a killer. In one of the most atrocious displays of power hitting ever seen, the mercurial Maxwell slaughtered Sri Lankan bowlers like never before. His unbeaten knock of 145 off 65 balls was the cornerstone of Australia’s massive 263/3. There was no imaginable way that Sri Lanka could chase such a monumental total and Dinesh Chandimal’s team could only reach 178/9 and lost the match by a whopping margin of 85 runs.

Australia’s Glenn Maxwell (R) is watched by Sri Lanka’s wicketkeeper Kusal Perera as he hits a ball to the boundary during the first T20 international cricket match between Sri Lanka and Australia at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium in Pallekele on September 6, 2016. / AFP / LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI (Photo credit should read LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI/AFP/Getty Images)

Tuesday proved to be historical for the touring Australian side that lost 0-3 in the tests against Sri Lanka. In the ODI series, Australia retaliated with a 4-1 victory but that didn’t immediately ensure their success in the ensuing 2-match T20 series. That came in their first T20 game against the hosts on Tuesday September 6. After Dinesh Chandimal won the toss, he thought of chasing the target with the full knowledge of Australia’s score and planning his batting strategy accordingly. But Chandimal didn’t know that his plan will boomerang on him. Australia opened with David Warner opting for Glenn Maxwell rather than Usman Khwaja. Australia’s regular T20 opener Aaron Finch was missing the match because of injury. At the start, Sri Lanka allowed just 3 runs to Australia in the first over and 8 in the second. The third over produced 19 but Warner scored all of those runs. Maxwell kept watching from the other side and no one knew about his intentions. At the end of 4 overs, Australia had reached 46/0 and Maxwell’s score was a mere 11 off 10 balls. The skipper was doing all the scoring and he had reached 28 off 14. In the fifth over, Maxwell took 11 off the first 3 balls and Warner crossed over to the batting crease. Next ball he was out and Australian score read 57/1. Usman Khwaja had joined Maxwell and scored a single off the first ball of the 6th over and crossed over. Now Maxwell belted 3 fours and ran for 2 runs and Australia reached 73/1 in 6 overs.

In the next two overs Maxwell and Khwaja added only 12 but Maxwell blasted 2 sixes in the 9th over and with Khwaja also hitting a six in the 10th over, Australia reached 110/1 at halfway stage.

Australia’s Glenn Maxwell (R) is congratulated by his teammate Travis Head (L) after scoring a century (100 runs) during the first T20 international cricket match between Sri Lanka and Australia at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium in Pallekele on September 6, 2016. / AFP / LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI (Photo credit should read LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI/AFP/Getty Images)

It was here that Maxwell began tormenting the Sri Lankan bowlers. He lost Khwaja in the 14th over and joined by Travis Head but truly speaking he didn’t any one. The marauding Australian hung around for the entire 20 overs and with outlandish clean-hitting; he not only registered an amazingly quick century but took his team’s score to 263/3.  His unbeaten knock of 145 off 65 balls was studded with 14 fours and 9 sixes. Maxwell also stole T20’s highest score record from Sri Lanka in their own den. Until Tuesday, Sri Lankans were sitting on the highest ever T20 score of 260 scored against Kenya in 2007 World Cup at Johannesburg.

For winning the match, Sri Lanka needed to score 264 in response. That was asking for too much. The top three batsmen, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kusal Perera and Dhananjaya de Silva fell cheaply as Sri Lanka could only reach 45/3 in the fifth over. Then the hosts also lost Kusal Mendis and Thisara perera to reel at 94/5 in the 11th. But captain Dinesh Chandimal and Chamara Kapugedera did their best to make a match out of it. Chandimal scored 58 off 43 and Kapugedera made 43 off 25 but the defeat was always on cards. Maxwell had assured that earlier. For Australia, Mitchell Starc and Scott Boland took 3 wickets each and Sri Lanka could reach 178/9 to lose by 85 runs.

R K Gupta

R K Gupta

Mr. RK Gupta has been a prolific Kridangan writer on major international sport-events for last two years. Basically a Mechanical Engineer and Administrative Management Post Graduate, Mr. Gupta took to blog-writing as a hobby after his retirement in 2011. He graduated to full-time sports-writing after joining in 2013. Most of Mr. Gupta’s posts are topical and analytical in nature; completely distinct from usual media reports. His narration on popular sports-events lends uniqueness to the reporting and makes it enjoyable for global sports readership.

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