Days after being knocked out of the T20 World Cup at home, Glenn Maxwell, or ‘Big Show’ as he is popularly known, broke his leg in a horrific mishap that ruled him out of cricketing action for a few months. This meant that Maxwell came into this IPL with not much games under his belt.
In a video posted by the RCB’s media handle a week before their first game, Maxwell admitted that “It’s going to be a number of months before I’m 100 percent.”
Fans would have been lying if they said they weren’t concerned about his form and fitness. You couldn’t blame them for it, given his high-risk-high-variance approach. Maxwell and consistency don't really go hand in hand. His IPL performances in the last 10 years reflect just that.
With Rajat Patidar not being available, Maxwell had even more responsibility on his shoulders. He had to ensure that the consistent starts their openers gave was further capitalized on.
Being the only experienced batter in the middle-order, Bangalore’s reliance on him went up whenever they lost a wicket early. But, he’s repaid the faith shown in him massively.
In IPL 2023, there have been six instances of Maxwell facing the music before the 7th over. He’s scored four fifties in these six innings. He has a strike rate and balls/dismissal in excess of 180 and 25, respectively. The two failures came against the Kolkata Knight Riders, and Varun Chakaravarthy got the better of him on both those occasions. So much for being a world-renowned spin-hitter, huh?
That brings us to another point; his hitting against pace.
Amongst batters who have faced at least 60 balls of pace in IPL 2023, he has the fourth-best strike rate (197.9) and the best average (47.5). Those are staggering numbers for someone who has an apparent weakness against pace and hard lengths. Before joining RCB, he averaged 21.3 and struck at 146.9 against pace in IPL.
Today's game in Jaipur was no different. While he struck length balls at 133, he managed to strike other lengths at 167.
Maxwell has attributed his elevated numbers in the IPL to the backing he’s received from the RCB think-tank.
“They have given me the freedom to go out there and express myself. To have that trust from the dressing room makes a difference,” he said after winning the home game against Rajasthan Royals with a POTM performance.
Another key facet of his batting has been his ability to accelerate from the get-go. This season, his strike rate in the first 10 balls is an impressive 164.2 - that’s second only to Yashasvi Jaiswal amongst top-order batters.
Even today, he went in when the scoreboard read 50/1 after seven overs. A strong but steady start. With Faf du Plessis looking to play anchor, someone had to take on the bowlers. And Maxwell did just that. He started by scoring 19 runs off his first 10 balls.
It also helped that Faf and Maxi have had consistently good partnerships throughout the season. In IPL 2023, their partnership has yielded 562 runs, the second-most for any pair.
Importantly, they have done this at an average of 80.3 and a strike rate of 191.8. That’s the best on both counts for partnerships that have faced a minimum of 100 balls.
They stitched together another useful 69-run-partnership at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium. Paltry, by their standards.
“Faf and I have had some nice partnerships, it’s been enjoyable batting with him,” Maxwell said at the mid-innings break during the RCB-MI game at Wankhede.
But, as we mentioned earlier, such a high-risk approach comes with high variance. His last six innings read 54, 68, 0, 4, 5, and 77.
He has registered five single-digit scores, this season, and RCB have gone on to lose three of them. The two games they did manage to win were against LSG in a low-scoring thriller at Ekana, and against PBKS in Mohali when the RCB openers had an opening stand of 137 runs.
These numbers show exactly why Maxwell is so important to RCB's plans.
Lastly, Maxwell has enjoyed batting at the Chinnaswamy Stadium. In the six games he’s played so far, he averages 50.6 and has scored at 190.6. This takes a nosedive to 21.8 and 163.8, respectively, outside Bangalore.
Today’s thumping win against RR means that RCB live to fight another day. Now, they need to win both of their remaining games to have a reasonable chance of making it to the playoffs.
They will take heart from the fact that they play one at home and another away. But, to secure wins in both games, they will want their batters to ably support their bowlers.
And for that, they will be relying on ‘Big Show’ to deliver a chokeslam or two.