The World Cup is done and dusted, but the Australians still are putting on a Big Show in India.
Glenn Maxwell, known as The Big Show for his penchant for smashing the ball around, gave India a taste of it in the third Twenty20 international at Guwahati on Tuesday.
The big Aussie plays for Royal Bangalore Challengers in the Indian Premier League and spends some of his free time in India as he is married to Vini Raman, a pharmacist from Chennai. So, he feels right at home.
Maxwell set the World Cup alight with an unbeaten 201 against Afghanistan when all hope was gone. Prior to that, Maxell blitzed his way to a 40-ball century, the fastest ever recorded, against the Netherlands.
On Tuesday, it was India’s turn to feel the wrath of the big man’s bat. Just like when all hope seemed lost against Afghanistan, where a loss would have sent the Aussies packing, Maxwell came to Australia’s rescue on Tuesday when it appeared India was set to wrap up the five-match series after having won the first two.
But when Maxwell is around, one can expect the unexpected.
India had piled on a massive 222 for three with Ruturaj Gaikwad scoring a brilliant unbeaten 123 off 57 balls and it contained eight mighty shots over the ropes and eight boundaries.
Gaikwad received superb support from skipper Suryakumar Yadav, who plundered 39 off 29 balls with two sixes and five fours, and Tilak Varma had four boundaries in his unbeaten 31.
It appeared like a winning score, but the Aussies pulled off a sensational victory on the very last ball. How is that for excitement?
Maxwell and his skipper Matthew Wade needed 43 off the last 12 balls, then it was 21 off six and the crowd sat in silence when it came down to two off the last ball. Matthew stunned fast bowler Prasidh Krishna by scoring a mighty six followed by three boundaries followed by two.
Krishna was unlucky as he came up against a fired-up by a two. Maxwell demolished Krishna even when the Indian bowled to length.
Maxwell’s century off 47 balls tied him with fellow Aussies Aaron Finch and Josh Inglis as the quickest to three figures.
The series now moves to Raipur on Friday for the fourth Twenty20 and both teams are expected to make wholesale changes.
Maxwell won’t be in the lineup to terrorize the Indians as he is headed home after a long and eventful two-month stay in India. He will be joined on the flight home along with Inglis, Marcus Stoinis, Steve Smith, Adam Zampa and Sean Abbott.
The only member of the World Cup to stay behind for the last two encounters will be Travis Head, who scored a century in the World Cup final and a solid 35 on Tuesday.
He will be joined by newcomers left-arm pace bowler Ben Dwarshius, off-spinner Chris Green and wicketkeepers Josh Philippe and Ben McDermott, who flew in on the weekend.
India has added fast bowler Deepak Chahar to the squad for the remainder of the series and he comes in for Mukesh Kumar, who was released ahead of Tuesday’s match for his coming wedding.
“It was a remarkable game of cricket,” said Australia bowler Jason Behrendorff, who returned the remarkable figures of one for 12 from his four overs. “We’re looking to get a series victory and we’re one step closer to that. To put on a performance like that is special and we will look to take that momentum into the next game.”
Prior to Maxwell stealing the limelight, it was India’s Hardik Pandya making the headlines. The all-rounder, who missed the World Cup final through injury, was purchased by Mumbai Indians from Gujarat Titans for a whopping $1.8 million US for next season’s Indian Premier League.
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The 10 teams were in action organizing their wish lists, retaining and discarding players prior to the auction set for Dubai on Dec. 19.
Pandya formerly played for Mumbai before he was transferred to Gujarat two years ago, where he led his team to the IPL crown.
Mumbai is by far the best-known IPL franchise because of its stellar record that has seen it land the trophy on five occasions and is owned by Nita Ambani, wife of India’s richest man, Mukesh Ambani, billionaire owner of Reliance Industries.
The rumour mill has Mumbai’s management wanting to groom Pandya to take over the captaincy from Rohit Sharma, who has led Mumbai to the five titles and is also captain of India’s national squad. The fans are upset with the news as Sharma is an icon in Mumbai and also with the national squad.
After landing Pandya, Mumbai went and traded Australian all-rounder Cameron Green to Royal Challengers Bangalore for roughly $1.8 million, the same figure he was purchased for in December. Green had an impressive first season by hitting an unbeaten 100 and two half-centuries.
Meanwhile, fellow Aussie Josh Hazlewood, one of Australia’s quickies, won’t be returning to Bangalore in 2024 as he awaits the birth of his first child.
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