Glenn Maxwell flash gives Kings XI success

Glenn Maxwell nailed 44 unbeaten runs off 20 balls and made sure his senior-team captaincy debut would forever be a happy memory.

Kings XI Punjab owed their six-wicket win to their bowlers though. They were so good that an outstanding fifth-wicket partnership between Ben Stokes and Manoj Tiwary – 61 runs off 37 balls with only two dots – ended up in vain. It was the eighth consecutive defeat after batting first for Rising Pune Supergiant in the IPL.

The Kings XI strangle

Eight out of the 20 overs Kings XI bowled yielded five runs or less. It began with Sandeep Sharma bowling Mayank Agarwal for a duck in the first over – Agarwal’s 28th dismissal in the Powerplay in 39 IPL innings.

That forced Ajinkya Rahane and Steven Smith into rebuild mode – Rising Pune had been 7 for 1 after three overs – on a two-paced pitch where the new ball seemed to skid and bounce and the old one stopped on the batsman. Smith, the current captain, was dismissed with a strike-rate below 100 to one that jumped up at him. MS Dhoni, the former captain, was dismissed with a strike-rate below 50, to one that came off the pitch slower than he expected.

The Rising Pune saviours, almost

In an innings 32 deliveries long, Stokes let only four become dots. Power-hitters can sometimes get caught up in just hitting the ball hard, but Stokes understood the risk of Rising Pune losing him too with a majority of the overs still left. He played the percentages well, feeding his knock with 22 singles and picked the left-arm spinners to hit. Stokes bashed 25 runs off 14 balls off Axar Patel and Swapnil Singh.

In an innings 23 deliveries long, Tiwary let only two become dots. His strike-rate of 173.91 was his best (in innings where he faced more than 15 balls). There were gorgeous inside-out shots over cover and point, highlighting a still base, and a straight six in the 19th over, when Stokes had fallen, highlighting his ability for the crunch moments.

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