The talent of Glenn Maxwell has been hailed as “extraordinary” by batting giant AB de Villiers as the pair continue to build a stunning relationship that could take the Australian to another level.
Maxwell is the second leading run scorer in the Indian Premier League after three innings with the Royal Challengers Bangalore, who signed him on a $2.5m deal at February’s player auction.
It’s the fourth IPL team for the enigmatic Australian but the team he desperately wanted to join to play with de Villiers and captain Virat Kohli.
On Sunday night Maxwell hit his second straight IPL half-century, his first two in the competition since 2016, hammering 78 off 49 balls, his highest IPL score since 2014.
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Maxwell & AB team up for 154!
His innings was bettered by South African great de Villiers, who made 76 not out off 34 balls to guide RCB to a third straight win after which he singled out Maxwell, who battled in the IPL last season, for high praise.
“It’s not so much what we talk about off the field and what we say about batting … we all play at such a level we are not going to tell each other what to do anymore,” de Villiers said.
“It’s about feeling backed and he feels that here, with Virat, myself and all the coaching staff, all his teammates back him.
“He knows he has an extraordinary talent but for that to blossom he knows he must be happy, and I think he is just in happy space at the moment.
“He’s always wanted to be with RCB, he’s mentioned that a few times. All in all he just looks happy.
“Generally as a sportsman you just want to be in a good headspace where you are enjoying your time with your teammates, where you feel confident about your own game.”
The Big Show lives up to his price tag
Maxwell’s run of form comes ahead of the T20 World Cup, which will be held in India in November.
He was dismissed by fellow Aussie Pat Cummins, who leads his team with four wickets for the tournament.
But Steve Smith, given his first bat for the Delhi Capitals by coach Ricky Ponting, was dismissed for just nine.
Meanwhile, de Villiers hasn’t ruled out a return for the Proteas at this year’s T20 World Cup.
LEADING RUN SCORERS IN THE IPL
S Dhawan (Delhi Capitals) – 186 runs @ 62
GJ Maxwell (Royal Challengers Bangalore) – 176 runs @ 58.66
KL Rahul (Punjab Kings) – 157 runs @ 52.23
N Rana (Kolkata Knight Riders) 155 runs @ 51.66
AB de Villiers (Royal Challengers Bangalore) – 125 runs @ 62.50