The manner in which Glenn Maxwell and David Miller batted against Chennai Super Kings to pull off an improbable chase was a once in a lifetime performance. At least it seemed so. But, Maxwell and Miller proved even their captain George Bailey wrong, who had commented after the match against Chennai Super Kings that such chases are achieved only ‘once’. Bailey was absolutely right in his observation – any sane person would have stated the same thing. Maxwell and Miller’s assault on Chennai’s bowlers was a never-been-seen occurrence, and even the ultimate optimist wouldn’t have expected an encore.
The fact that Maxwell and Miller overhauled another massive target, this time set by Rajasthan Royals was nothing short of incredible. It was almost a repeat of the last game wherein Maxwell set things up with his reserve sweeps and switch hits to go with some incredulous strokes, and Miller then finishing things off with some brutal hits towards the end, at a time when it seemed the target was getting out of hand even for Punjab. Although Rajasthan’s bowlers would have been embarrassed with the kind of treatment meted out to them, they themselves would be amazed with the kind of batsmanship Maxwell and Miller put up.
Maxwell and Miller’s back-to-back miraculous chases say a lot about the two players. One, they have amazing self-confidence in their ability to pull off any challenge that is thrown at them. Both in the game against Chennai and Rajasthan, they were chasing targets that were nothing short of daunting. But, the manner in which they batted, they never gave an inkling that they were under pressure. It was as if the duo always believed they would chase down the massive target, which they eventually did with ease.
Another aspect of the game which has been amazing is their shot selection. Chasing huge targets, they have almost had to play a shot a ball. In such a scenario, the chances of the batsman mistiming the ball are rather high. But Maxwell and Miller have rarely done so in the last two matches. Most of the times they have hit the ball, it has either raced to the boundary or has cleared the ropes with ease. While Maxwell has relied on innovation, Miller has used brute force. Both have been equally effective though, indicating that players can take different routes to success with similar results. Maxwell and Miller’s effort has almost been superhuman like.
Although Punjab how now won two in two, the spectacular efforts of Maxwell and Miller have overshadowed a lot of loopholes in the side. Their bowling has been abysmal in both the matches, and their fielding too has been below par. Further, if one takes away the heroics of Maxwell and Miller, their batting too has struggled. Virender Sehwag has failed in both the matches and Cheteshwar Pujara hasn’t looked comfortable yet in this format. It remains to be seen how Punjab fare when the two Ms do not perform.
--By A Cricket Analyst