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Magnificent Maxwell crushes Super Kings

- Aussie all-rounder in sparkling 135-run 3rd-wicket stand with Miller
David Miller, on way to his 47, on Wednesday

Cuttack: Glenn Maxwell continued with his incredible batting form in this IPL, as he blasted a 38-ball 90 in a stupendous exhibition of strokeplay to take Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) to a comprehensive 44-run victory over Chennai Super Kings (CSK) here on Wednesday.

Maxwell, the highest scorer till now in this season, with 435 from seven matches, thrashed the CSK bowlers to submission as George Bailey-led KXIP scored 231 for 4 — the highest total of IPL VII so far — after his side was put into bat at the Barabati Stadium.

Chasing a mammoth target of 232, CSK, who boast of one of the best batting line-ups this season, could only score 187 for six and slumped to their second defeat. Their only other defeat was also against KXIP, with Maxwell hitting a 43-ball 95 in that match at Abu Dhabi, guiding his team to a six-wicket win.

CSK suffered a jolt in the first over itself, with in-form opener Dwayne Smith getting out for just four. The other opener, Brendon McCullum (33), and Suresh Raina (35) kept CSK in the hunt with a 51 run stand for the second wicket. But they failed to force the pace and the asking rate shot up to nearly 15 per over by the halfway mark.

Ravindra Jadeja (17) departed just after the halfway mark while McCullum was run out thanks to a brilliant piece of fielding by Mitchell Johnson whose running throw hit the wicket directly.

It was all over by then for CSK, as they needed 113 runs from the last five overs. Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni (23) and Faf du Plessis (52) delayed the inevitable with a 61-run stand for the fifth wicket, but they finally found themselves outclassed.

With Wednesday’s victory, KXIP jumped to the top of the league table with 12 points from seven matches. CSK have also secured the same points from eight matches, but the Punjab outfit have a better net run rate.

The loss on Wednesday also snapped CSK’s six match winning streak in the IPL VII.

It was a Maxwell show all the way in the clash of table toppers, as the 25-year-old Australian hit six fours and eight sixes to take his side to the fifth highest total in IPL history. The packed stadium enjoyed the unbelievable batting show, including his three reverse hit sixes.

Maxwell stitched 135 runs with David Miller (47 off 32 balls) for the third wicket, from just 10.4 overs, after they came together in the sixth over at 38 for two. Punjab added an incredible 162 runs in the second half of their innings with captain George Bailey chipping in with an unbeaten cameo of a 13-ball 40.

Maxwell’s score in the seven matches he has played so far in IPL VII are 95, 89, 95, 15, 6 and 45 before Wednesday’s 90.

Except for Mohit Sharma (2/15), all the CSK bowlers were punished heavily with Ishwar Pandey (0/41), Dwayne Smith (1/36), Ravindra Jadeja (0/37) and R Ashwin (0/38) being at the receiving end.

Earlier, opener Virender Sehwag (30) began with a bang. He hit three fours off Ishwar Pandey in second over to give Punjab a flying start.

His opening partner Mandeep Singh, who replaced Cheteshwar Pujara in the team, was out for just three off the bowling of Mohit Sharma in the fifth over while trying for an unnecessary shot.       (PTI)