After a disappointing 2016 for both himself - 179 runs at 19.88, with only two fifties - and his team, Glenn Maxwell began a new campaign as Kings XI Punjab's tenth captain in as many seasons. When he walked out to bat, Kings XI had just lost two wickets in five balls, and needed 79 from 53 balls, with seven wickets in hand. Kings XI were still ahead, chasing a not particularly gargantuan 164, but Rising Pune Supergiant may have sensed an opening at that point, with both Maxwell and David Miller yet to face a ball at that point.
"One more wicket," they may have been thinking, "and you never know."
That one wicket never came. Maxwell got going almost immediately, launching debutant legspinner Rahul Chahar for a flowing straight six off only the third ball he faced, and continued to pepper the boundaries effortlessly. Ben Stokes disappeared for a four and a straight six in his third over, and Imran Tahir, bowling his last over after grabbing two wickets in his first three, went for successive pulled sixes.
With Maxwell in this sort of form, Miller played scrupulously straight, giving his partner as much of the strike as possible and giving Rising Pune no sniff at his end. Kings XI eventually romped home with an over to spare.
The wow moment
Two balls, against the usually frugal Rajat Bhatia. Knowing Bhatia's default stump-to-stump line, Maxwell gambled and gave himself enough room to expose all three stumps. The ball, as expected, was a back-of-a-length ball on the stumps. Maxwell slapped it away to the cover boundary. Now Maxwell had put doubt in Bhatia's mind. Trying to outguess Maxwell, Bhatia fired it down the leg side. This time, Maxwell didn't move away from the stumps. He simply shuffled across them and earned his team a leg-side wide, and then another run as MS Dhoni made a rare fumble behind the stumps.
Batting first, Maxwell had had a horrible 2016, averaging 3.83, scoring his runs at a strike rate of 82.14, and only managing 23 runs in seven innings. While chasing, though, he had made 156 runs in four innings at 52.00 and a strike rate of 162.50. All the more reason for Rising Pune to have felt more apprehensive than normal when he walked out to bat.
Maxwell was particularly severe against the short ball during his unbeaten 20-ball 44, scoring 20 off five legal balls, hitting two of them for four and two for six. The pull was extremely productive - he played it twice, both times against Tahir, and hit sixes both times.
The only two bowlers to dismiss Maxwell three times in the IPL are both legspinners - Piyush Chawla and Amit Mishra. Tahir, meanwhile, had dismissed Maxwell twice before this match. In this game, though, Maxwell took a heavy toll of both legspinners, scoring 27 off 12 balls against Tahir and Rahul Chahar.
This was Maxwell's first match as captain in any format.
What they said
"It's better to chase here, to know how to pace it and keep wickets in the back end, and go hell for leather."
Glenn Maxwell, on the conditions in Indore