Glenn Maxwell was in his element during the opening encounter between Royal Challengers Bangalore and Mumbai Indians, scoring 39 off 28 balls before AB de Villiers added his own aura to help the side to victory. The Aussie's 52-run partnership with Virat Kohli pushed MI backward in the game and Kohli believes that partnership was the real difference in the game.
"We wanted Maxi to bat at four. The set-up was such that if we get a partnership [at the top], then Maxi comes into the game and he can do what he does [at the death]. But if we lose early wickets as well, it allows him to get into the innings and not start slogging from ball one. As a batsman, if that [hitting from ball one] doesn't come off, it can start playing on your mind,” Kohli said in the post-match presentation.
“Today you saw the result of him playing 10-15 balls, he's a different player then. He just took the game away from the opposition in those middle overs to be honest. His innings, I felt, in our partnership was that momentum changer and that made the job easier in the end. If he had stayed in, we probably would have finished a couple of overs earlier."
Kohli opened with Washington Sundar while Rajat Patidar followed him at No.3. Instead of sending AB de Villiers at No.4, RCB rather sent Glenn Maxwell for reasons explained by Kohli. The RCB skipper stated that the side wants to be flexible in their approach depending on the situation.
"If there's a partnership [at the top], you might see a totally different batting order. But in a tricky chase, you know you need experience in the back also. And a player that the opposition knows, 'if he doesn't get out, anything can be chased down'... Then the bowler gets into a different kind of headspace.
“So that's something we want to bank on. But if Dev [Devdutt Padikkal, the Royal Challengers' first-choice opener who missed out on Friday having just recovered from Covid-19] and me get off to a start and we bat through till nine-ten overs, we could see a totally different approach straight away from the ball one,” Kohli added.
Speaking of his partnership with Kohli, Maxwell said, "It was nice to go out there and bat with the captain (Virat Kohli). Nice to not run him out in the first few balls, we were able to have a partnership and that was pretty cool. It would have been nice if one of us was there to finish it off but we set the platform for ABD to do his thing, he is an absolute superstar," Maxwell said in a video posted on the official Twitter handle of RCB.