Relaxed Maxwell relishing captaincy
The veteran allrounder believes a more relaxed approach is helping both he and the Melbourne Stars achieve better results
11 February 2019, 08:03 AM AEST
Glenn Maxwell believes the Melbourne Stars captaincy has made him more relaxed, but the allrounder's 20 minutes of carnage to lead his team's improbable charge into the KFC BBL finals on Sunday were anything but.
Needing to beat the in-form Sydney Sixers to secure a semi-final berth, the Stars were plodding at 4-101 after 16 overs with Maxwell on 17 from 20 deliveries and yet to hit a boundary.
Then, in 23 deliveries of exceptional invention and pure power-hitting, Maxwell turned the game on its head as he smashed 65 runs, including six sixes, only falling on the final delivery of the innings for a 43-ball 82.
Farming the strike to perfection, he shared a 52-run stand with Seb Gotch, scoring 51 from 18 deliveries while Gotch hit a lone single from the sole ball he faced.
"It was probably now or never," Maxwell explained of his thinking when he pressed the accelerator against Sixers and Australia spinner Nathan Lyon.
"I took a massive risk. It was into the wind (and) I don't normally charge spinners, but I just went at him and hoped I could get off the length.
"Luckily I got it out of the middle and from there I was able to get some momentum.
"Our message the whole way through to the Stars has been to always take the positive option.
"Taking the positive option doesn't always go your way in T20, but luckily first risk I took, it came off."
A brilliant catch at slip capped off a player-of-the-match performance that also included a second slips catchand wicket off his own bowling, but Maxwell reserved the most praise for his bowlers, who backed up his efforts with the bat to bowl the Sixers out for just 74 – a result that cost the magenta team a home semi-final.
Now, the Stars skipper is confident his side, at their best, have what it takes to topple ladder leaders Hobart Hurricanes in Thursday's first semi-final at Blundstone Arena.
Last time the sides met in Hobart, the Stars were restricted to 5-155 before the Hurricanes cruised to a six-wicket win in the 19th over.
"It still wasn't a complete performance (today), it was difficult the whole way through … as I said wicket wasn't as easy as it looked at the end, but to bowl and perform like we did in the field was outstanding," Maxwell said after the 94-run win over the Sixers.
"We'll come up with our plans (for the Hurricanes), I thought we bowled pretty well to them in Hobart but we missed a couple of chances when we were a chance to get back into the game."
After taking over the Stars leadership this season, long-time servant Maxwell admits he'd dearly love to be the skipper to lead the club to its first Big Bash title.
"It would be amazing, just the group of guys we've got here, we're so invested in each other, we enjoy each other's success so much," he said.
"I hope (the captaincy's) made me a bit more relaxed and I hope it's made me a better cricketer.
"All in all it's given me a better look at the overall game and made me more accountable as well on the field."
Maxwell will play a full part in the BBL Finals before he links up with Australia's limited overs squad for a white-ball tour that will take in two T20s and five ODIs against India, before a further five ODIs against Pakistan in the UAE.