Royal Challengers Bangalore captain Virat Kohli has heaped praise on Glenn Maxwell after the Aussie batsman once again starred in his side's latest Indian Premier League win.
Bangalore teammate AB de Villiers got player of the match honours in the 38-run win over Kolkata Knight Riders but it was Maxwell whose heroics were being celebrated by the captain after the match.
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The big-hitting Aussie and de Villiers both shone with the bat as Royal Challengers thumped the Knight Riders for their third straight win in the T20 competition.
De Villiers' unbeaten 76 off 34 balls, with nine fours and three sixes, earned him the player of the match award as Bangalore reacted a big total of 4-204.
But after Virat Kohli had won the toss and chosen to bat, it was Maxwell who did most to steady the innings after the captain had fallen cheaply.
Just as he had produced fine performances with the bat in their opening two games, the Australian again produced the goods for his new franchise, matching de Villiers in also smashing nine fours and three sixes in his 78 off 49 deliveries.
Maxwell's latest heroics moved him behind Delhi Capitals batsman Shikhar Dhawan (186 runs @ 62.00) as the second highest run scorer (176 runs @ 58.66) in the competition.
It also means in just three innings the Aussie has managed to surpass his paltry tally of 108 runs in last year's IPL that prompted the Punjab Kings axe the highly paid flop.
Royal Challengers turned heads at February’s IPL Auction when they took a AUD $2.5 million gamble on Maxwell, despite his chequered record in the IPL.
The move has so far paid off handsomely, with the right-handed batsman looking more comfortable in Kohli's side after being promoted up the order to bat at number four.
Having famously not made a half century in the IPL since 2016 before this season, Maxwell now has two fifties to his name in the space of a week.
Kohli couldn't contain his admiration for Maxwell after discussing his contribution to Bangalore during their latest win.
“Well, I said at the halfway mark we have 200 because of two genius innings back-to-back,” said Kohli.
“Maxi has taken to this team like a duck to water. AB loves the team and they were the difference today. We’re not getting ahead of ourselves and not getting over-excited.”
AB and Maxi combine to destroy Kolkata
Kolkata's top-order batsmen couldn't convert good starts and Bangalore restricted them to 8-166 with New Zealand fast bowler Kyle Jamieson picking up 3-41.
After losing Kohli for just five in the second over, Maxwell dominated spinners and fast bowlers on a wicket where the ball nicely came onto the bat.
He was finally outdone by fellow Australian Pat Cummins' short-pitched delivery in the 17th over as he top edged a pull to short fine leg.
De Villiers and Jamieson smashed Andre Russell for 38 runs off his two overs and Harbhajan Singh conceded 18 off the penultimate over as the last 18 balls yielded Bangalore 56.
Kolkata opener Shubman Gill (21 off nine balls) blazed two sixes and two fours, but Australian Dan Christian, on as a substitute fielder, took a spectacular two-handed diving catch at mid-on in the second over.
Russell (31), captain Eoin Morgan (29) and Shakib Al Hasan (26) all scored better than a run-a-ball, but Bangalore kept taking wickets at regular intervals to end their Chennai leg of the event with three wins from three games.
In Sunday's later game in Mumbai, Delhi Capitals enjoyed a six-wicket victory against Punjab Kings thanks largely to opener Dhawan's 49-ball 92 that propelled them to 4-198 with 10 balls to spare as they chased 4-195.
Earlier, Delhi had recovered well to contain Punjab after Mayank Agarwal (69) and captain Lokesh Rahul (61) had featured in a 122-run opening stand off 76 balls.
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