Pune: When Glenn Maxwell was appointed as the skipper of Kings XI punjab ahead of tenth season of the Indian Premier League, many were unsure whether the management had taken the right decision. But the Australian got the team off to a flying start as Punjab comprehensively won their first two matches of the tournament.
In their opening match of the season, KXIP defeated Rising Pune Supergiant by six wickets after they chased down a decent 163-run target in 19 overs. What was impressive to see, was Maxwell's performance. Batting at number five, the big-hitting Aussie remained unbeaten on 44 off just 20 balls, ensuring that he completed the job for his team.
Up against injury-hit Royal Challengers Bangalore in the next match, Punjab first restricted their opponents for a paltry 148, and then chased down the target in just 14.3 overs. Maxwell once again rose to the occasion and slammed yet another unbeaten knock – 43 off just 22 balls.
With two wins in a row, Kings XI Punjab were off to a great start and many believed it could be a different season for them.
However, post those two wins, things were back to square one for the franchise. Two comprehensive victories was followed by two big losses while the third loss against Sunrisers Hyderabad was a nail-biter.
Barring Hashim Amla and Manan Vohra, most of the Kings XI Punjab batsmen have struggled throughout the series. After remaining unbeaten in the first two matches, Maxwell has scored just 35 runs in the last three games.
To bring the campaign back on track, KXIP need Maxwell to rediscover his form. He has all the shots in his repertoire and there aren't many who can match his variety of unorthodox shots.
David Miller is another batsman who needs to pull up his socks. The left-hander, who has played several match-winning knocks in the past, has amassed just 83 runs in the last five matches. That's a below par performance as per his own standards.
While Maxwell's vulnerability against leg-spinners has been the talking point of the tournament, Mumbai would want to exploit his weakness. But as he did in that remarkable 2014 IPL season, Maxwell needs just one big knock to get his confidence going.
Punjab are currently ranked fifth in the points table and they badly need their skipper to lead from the front in order to get back to winning ways.