India captain Virat Kohli had set the stage for a challenging total of 190-4 at the Chinnaswamy Stadium, smashing 72 not out off just 38 balls. He was given excellent company by keeper MS Dhoni who was at his vintage best, hitting 40 off 23 balls with three hits to the boundary and as many over the ropes.
But all that paled in comparison to Maxwell’s unbeaten innings of 113 off 55 balls which took Australia to a series win with two balls to spare. Here are the talking points from the second T20.
KL RAHUL IN FINE FORM
KL Rahul is in fine form and made the most of it, playing fluent drives over covers and flicks through mid wicket to race to 47 off 26 balls. His strokemaking made up for the struggles of fellow opener Shikhar Dhawan who crawled to 14 off 24 balls.
But just when Rahul looked set to cut loose, he played an upper cut to Nathan Coulter-Nile and was caught at third man.
KOHLI AND DHONI TAKE OVER
Skipper Kohli kicked the innings into overdrive as he smoked Coulter-Nile to three successive sixes in the 16th over. For once, Dhoni kept the tempo up from his end as the T20 veterans added exactly 100 runs for the fourth wicket.
Both batsmen reached the 50 sixes landmark in T20 cricket. Kohli’s shot to finish the innings – a check drive down the ground off Pat Cummins for a six – showed how good a pitch it was. The slow knock by Dhawan and the six-ball one from Rishabh Pant came back to haunt India.
AUSSIES FALTER AT THE START
India bowlers did very well with the new ball, with Siddarth Kaul castling Marcus Stoinis and captain Aaron Finch mistiming a pull off Vijay Shankar. At 22-2, Australia were not in great position chasing nearly 10 an over.
But D’Arcy Short (40 off 28) steadied the ship in the company of Maxwell to take the innings deep. Their 73-run stand put the advantage back in Australia’s court.
MAXWELL TEES OFF
Most runs by a player in a 2-match T20I series:— Sampath Bandarupalli (@SampathStats) February 27, 2019
211 runs - Glenn Maxwell vs SL, 2016
169 runs - GLENN MAXWELL vs IND, This series#INDvAUS
The Big Show has enough experience of the Chinnaswamy Stadium from his multiple stints in the IPL. He knew sixes can be easily hit at the small ground square of the wicket. With 60 needed from 30 balls, Maxwell targeted leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal in the game-changing moment of the match – sweeping the leggie over square leg for a six and following that with a reverse swept maximum.
There was no stopping Maxwell as he raced to 113 off 55 balls with seven fours and nine sixes. It was the third T20 ton for Maxwell – the first Australian to do so.
India, meanwhile, paid the price for going in with just five bowling options yet again as Chahal (0-47) and Kaul (1-45) were taken to the cleaners.
Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting has been appointed assistant coach for the upcoming Cricket World Cup in England this summer.
The appointment follows the resignation of David Saker in agreement with head coach Justin Langer that it was “in the best interests of the team”.
Ponting, who captained his country to two World Cup victories, will act as assistant coach to Langer for the tournament beginning on May 30, having twice served as assistant to the Twenty20 side and been part the ODI set-up last summer in England.
Cricket Australia said Pointing will focus on working with the ODI batting group as they seek to defend their title from four years ago.
Ponting believes Australia will be as tough a side to beat as any other in the competition.
“I’ve enjoyed my previous short-term roles with the ODI and T20 Teams but World Cups take on a whole different meaning for me,” he said.
“I have enormous confidence in the players available to the selectors and know we will be as tough to beat as any team in this year’s World Cup.”
Ponting led Australia to World Cup wins in South Africa in 2003 and the West Indies in 2007 and was part of the team that lifted the trophy in England in 1999.
Langer said: “Ricky knows what’s required to win World Cups, and I know he will be a valuable mentor to not just the batting group, but the broader squad as we focus our attention on defending our World Cup title.”
Ponting will take up the role following Australia’s ODI tours against India and Pakistan.
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Australia captain Tim Paine believes disgraced pair Steve Smith and David Warner could be instrumental in this year’s Ashes series.
The pair’s year-long suspensions for their roles in the ball-tampering scandal in South Africa are set to expire late next month and it is anticipated they will make an immediate return to the international set-up.
Australia have struggled in the absence of their two star batsmen, being whitewashed across five one-day internationals in England last summer and more recently losing a Test series on home soil to India for the first time in their history.
Paine said in quotes on Cricket Australia’s official website: “Those two (Smith and Warner) have got plenty of runs in the bank.
“I see them going to the Ashes and them having a huge part in us winning the series. That’s how important they are to this team, as I see.
“We know how good they are and hopefully, once their bans are up, they will be welcomed back and they’ll win Test matches like they did before.”
Australia completed a 366-run victory over Sri Lanka in Canberra on Monday to seal a 2-0 Test series victory over the tourists.
Paine believes his squad for the blockbuster five-Test series in England – which starts at Edgbaston on August 1 – is starting to take shape.
He added: “I haven’t written any (names) down, but I’ve got a fair idea what it might look like.
“But I’m not a selector, so I get asked for my input but I think they (the three-man selection panel) would have a pretty good picture of what it would look like.
“What we’ve seen over this summer is that we’ve now started to build a squad with plenty of depth, so there’s probably anywhere between 16 and 20 players now that we think are in the mix, which is a really good place to be.”