Glenn Maxwell and Josh Hazlewood have excelled on the ball in an Indian Premier League triumph that put Royal Challengers Bangalore in the top four.
The two fellow Australian internationals were in a foul mood in Pune on Wednesday as they produced tight spells and took key wickets that strangled Chennai Super Kings’ response at RCB 8-173.
Maxwell’s 2-22 from his four overs removed the padding from Chennai’s reply before Hazlewood proved effective in the overs of death, disposing of Chennai’s point man and captain MS Dhoni in the penultimate over to seal the match. effectively the eventual 13-race win.
Hazlewood was the cheapest bowler of the entire match, taking 1-19 from his allotment of four over, including 10 point balls.
Previously, Maxwell had been severely irritated at MCA Stadium after his low-scoring streak continued (he has made just 160 runs in eight IPL innings this season) when he was only out three innings at RCB.
Called up for a single that was never seen by Virat Kohli, who still looked a bit out of it as he went 30-for-33, Maxwell didn’t stand a chance as he was beaten by Robin Uthappa’s pitch.
But led on the attack in the eighth over, Maxwell got his revenge right away as Chennai batted, catching Uthappa on the second point back before striking again a couple of overs later tossing Ambati Rayudu in with a slower one.
Hazlewood was similarly tidy and with Dhoni’s presence still offering Chennai the whiff of an unlikely win, he had the big man caught in the middle of the deep wicket after wasting time on a powerful jerk.
“It was a really good bowling effort. We felt there was enough stickiness at the wicket to explode with our spinners and then for our quickies to keep their nerves at the back with some really powerful deadly batsmen, they did a great job to finish that game. Maxwell said.
“The finger spinners were holding on a little bit and grabbing the surface a little bit. For me, it was just trying to throw the ball into the stumps as much as I could and trying to vary the angle of the seam to try and get that variable spin of the wicket”.
Maxwell praised the RCB batsmen, particularly captain Faf du Plessis (38 from 22 balls), Mahipal Lomror (42 from 27) and Dinesh Karthik (26 from 17), for starting to improve.
“It’s hard to stop the winning momentum and we feel like our hitters are starting to hit more and more in the middle of the bat,” he said. “Hopefully we haven’t left it too late and we can get to the final and find a way to get into the top four and do some damage in the final.”