Glenn Maxwell epitomises Australian brand of cricket with his belligerence and big-hitting abilities. His prowess in the shorter formats is well-known and has been the reason behind several bowlers’ nightmare. Maxwell can wreak havoc and execute shots, which are impossible for mere mortals to think of. However, the same confidence has found to be missing and Maxwell has looked bereft of oomph in three games against India. Yuzvendra Chahal has kept the star-studded batsman under check and got the better of him on all three occasions.
The success of wrist spin for India has been mesmerising to watch. Wrist spin is back in vogue and the spinners have played a key role in helping India seal the five-match series with two more games to go. Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav have gelled well and hunted in a pair.
The battle between Chahal and Maxwell has been the talk of the town in the ongoing series. So far, Chahal has had the last laugh and seldom we see a bowler playing with batsman’s mind so frequently. Chahal didn’t produce magical deliveries to get rid of Maxwell, but bowled to a plan and looked extremely alert. Let’s analyse Maxwell’s dismissals.
In Indore, Australia had a solid platform built for someone like Maxwell to come out all guns blazing. The partnership between Aaron Finch and Steve Smith gave Australia a hope to reach the 300-run mark, in fact, well beyond that. Maxwell walked in at 4 with as many as 73 deliveries to be played and with 224 runs on the board. The situation couldn’t have got any better for Maxwell and Australia needed him to fire.
Maxwell does no play too many dot deliveries, he likes to keep the scoreboard ticking. Virat Kohli brought Jasprit Bumrah into the attack, who did extremely well in keeping Maxwell quiet. Chahal replaced Hardik Pandya and bowled just a solitary delivery to Maxwell in that over, which was flighted outside off, but the batsman negotiated it well. Kuldeep replaced Bumrah as the latter had just three overs to go, which was needed in the ultimate stages of the innings. At the end of 42nd over, Maxwell had played 12 deliveries for 5, highly against his style of play.
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Chahal put in the hard yards next. Maxwell needed to break the shackles and one could sense it coming. Chahal’s second delivery of the innings to Maxwell was again a flighted one, pitched outside off and turned away. Maxwell went for this one and danced down the track, but failed to make any connection with the ball. MS Dhoni got the bails off in a flash, and there was a smile on Chahal’s face. He knew that the plan has worked. Maxwell is insanely strong on the legside and Chahal wanted him to reach for the ball, therefore pitched it way outside off.
In the first ODI at Chennai, Chahal implemented a similar strategy after being smashed for a six. Maxwell was on fire, having shifted his gears, he started hitting deliveries out of the park and threatened to take the game away from India. Chahal didn’t shy away from pitching the ball up despite being hit for a maximum on the previous delivery and got it to turn away from the batsman. Maxwell ended up mistiming it to Manish Pandey at long-on.
In Kolkata, Maxwell endured too many dot deliveries in Chahal’s over and shimmied down the wicket a bit early. He has only garnered 58 runs from three innings in this series, which is certainly way below his standard. Australia expected a lot more from the veteran, but Chahal has denied him success so far.
India have managed to keep the maverick striker quiet so far and the plan to take the ball away from him with flight has worked. Maxwell is a proven champion of this format and needs to show patience at the crease. There isn’t any technical flaw in Maxwell’s batting but India have certainly found a weakness in his approach and have exploited it with Chahal in command.
Yuzvendra Chahal bowling Australia out of the game and Ashwin out of contention. #INDvAUS
— Raunak Kapoor (@RaunakRK) September 21, 2017
Australia have two more games to go and one can expect them to battle for pride. Maxwell will have to score a lot of runs in the middle if Australia are eyeing to infuse some momentum in the dead-rubber.
Chahal, on the other hand, is growing with every game and gaining confidence. He dared to flight the ball against the big guns, which is commendable for a bowler who is new to the international arena. Being a wrist spinner, he provides a solid attacking option to the skipper and Kohli has also shown immense faith in his abilities.
Chahal and Kuldeep are unique in their own way. Both are wrist spinners, but turn the ball in different directions. Their presence will definitely provide solid spin options to ponder upon for the games to come and India will have a reliable pool of bowlers to choose from. Wrist spinners are wicket-takers and one needs to invest in them. With the 2019 World Cup not very far away, this would be the ideal time for India to pick and groom the bowling attack they would want to go on the grandest stage of ODI cricket.