IPL 2021: Glenn Maxwell Player of Match But Shahbaz Ahmed Highest Impact Player of Match
Royal Challengers Bangalore snatched victory from the jaws of defeat as they held their nerves at the death to record a remarkable 6-run win over Sunrisers Hyderabad in Chennai. Chasing 150 on a slow and turning wicket, SRH failed to capitalize on a fine start and made a mess of a chase they should have wrapped with plenty to spare. Instead, they kept losing wickets and ultimately fell short of the target. While Glenn Maxwell was the best batsman on display on the 14th of April at Chepauk and had a higher impact than David Warner, it was the slow left arm orthodox of Shahbaz Ahmed which had the maximum impact in the match.
Maxwell came out to bat in the seventh over and built a base for RCB adding 44 for the third-wicket with skipper Virat Kohli. Although his team lost a flurry of wickets thereafter including the big ones of the captain and AB de Villiers in quick succession, Maxwell was determined to make a difference and stood firm at the other end. He kept the scorecard ticking and only attacked at the death – showcasing maturity and common sense apart from his marvellous stroke-play.
What stood out about Maxwell was his ability to score at a rate higher than the other RCB batsmen on a difficult and tricky wicket. The Australian had a strike rate of 143.9 in the match which was higher than the average for other RCB batsmen in the match of a mere 101.27. Maxwell scored almost 40% of RCB’s runs and batted through pressure of wickets falling at the other end in the second half of the innings. He was finally dismissed for 59 off 41 deliveries.
Yet, it was the left-arm orthodox spin of Shahbaz Ahmed which won RCB the encounter and thus he had a higher impact than Maxwell in the match. Ahmed scored 14 off 10 deliveries batting at number 3 but his match-defining performance came with the ball. David Warner and Manish Pandey had put together a potentially match-winning knock of 83 in good time for the second wicket and SRH were cantering to victory.
The equation was reduced to 35 runs off the last 4 overs with 8 wickets in hand – that would be an ‘easy chase’ in an IPL match of the current times. But it was not to be!
Ahmed had delivered a restrictive first over – the 15th of the innings – conceding just six and was asked to continue from his skipper, Kohli. Little did he know what lay in store! Ahmed struck off his very first delivery getting rid of the dangerous Jonny Bairstow. Ahmed made it two in two deliveries as he saw the back of the in-form Mr Dependable for SRH – Manish Pandey – off the very next delivery. Quick to see the batsman dashing down the wicket, Ahmed held one back and got the ball to spin away from the batsman who managed a slice straight into the hands of the short third man. Two wickets in two balls – the match had changed on its head.
The over just kept getting better and better for the slow left-armer as Ahmed got his third wicket in six deliveries getting the hard-hitting Abdul Samad caught off his own bowling. Three wickets in an over and the match had changed on its head! Ahmed had changed the course of the match dramatically in one over picking three huge wickets. Also, he gave away just a solitary run in the over which meant that SRH needed 34 off the last three overs.
2 overs, 7 runs and 3 big wickets – Shahbaz Ahmed had won the match for RCB in his 12 deliveries and thus had a higher impact than Maxwell in the match.