Big-hitting batsman Glenn Maxwell, who smashed a fantastic century in the second T20I against India, credited extended run of matches at No. 4 with Melbourne Stars in the recently concluded BBL for his consistency in the shortest format of the game.
The 30-year-old smashed an unbeaten 113 in 55 deliveries to help Australia chase down the total of 191 and claim their maiden T20I series win over India. In Visakhapatnam as well, Maxwell scored a free-slowing 56 on a track where most of the other batsmen struggled.
"I was actually quite calm for most of it," said Maxwell, who managed 331 runs in 13 encounters in BBL 2018-19.
"Playing the Big Bash before gave me a bit of confidence coming to this tour. I've been batting at four for the Stars, I'm familiar with my role. I've been coming in at two down in the T20 side for the last 12 months, it's a consistent role for me.
"I think once I get that consistency of role, you can actually start to see consistency of performances. And I think that's probably what has led to this."
Chasing a massive total in Bangalore, Maxwell came out to bat with his side struggling on 22 for 2. He first shared a 73-run stand with D'Arcy Short before a match-winning 99-run partnership with his Melbourne Stars and Victoria teammate Peter Handscomb led Australia to win.
"After D'Arcy's dismissal it was up to me to really stick around and drive the rest of the innings going forward," said Maxwell, who is now the only Australian with three T20I centuries.
"Pete Handscomb did a really good job of getting off strike and being really busy. We were able to build a partnership really quickly and we didn't really lose too much momentum after that wicket.
"I thought that was a really key moment of the game. Last game we had that run out and all of a sudden a bit of chaos at the back end. But we were able to keep consistently having good overs and keep that run rate in check.
“In my case tonight, when I came out, it was 15 overs to go I think. And as long as I get an 80 or a 100 out of that even, if I am doing that at a No 6 or a 7, it doesn’t really matter. It’s just me making the most of the opportunities when I get them.”
Maxwell hit nine fours and seven sixes in his innings but insisted that he did not take unnecessary risks.
“I think it’s just got to be about picking your moments. I think a little bit of it is that I have to go hard but I think I had been just picking off balls I can hit the boundaries in. Like today, I don’t think I took too many ridiculous risks and I feel I read the game really well and was able to hit the ball in areas where the fielders weren’t at all. There are not many times I hit the ball straight over a fielder’s head but just place it in the gap and I feel that’s okay for me,” he said.
“When I had a successful inning if I am mistiming and it’s still falling in the gap but I have gotten in control and I really had a good read of the game and I was just one step ahead."
Talking about how he countered the threat posed by Jasprit Bumrah in the last few overs, Maxwell said: "I was always trying to attack him. We needed 44 off the last four overs and he came back on. I suppose it was a key over. If that only went for four or five, suddenly you need 13 an over. And it only takes six good yorkers from him to push that up to 18-19. That can be quite difficult to get in the last two overs, or the two other overs.
“So I was just hoping he missed a couple of times and wanted to pounce on that. He’s done me a fair few times in T20 cricket to his credit. I have sort of changed my approach to him a little bit. Been able to wait for a ball that’s slightly off and capitalise on that. I was able to get him for two boundaries in that over and keep the run rate in check and I was able to target Siddarth next over and then we only needed 14 off 12 balls.”
The all-rounder, who generally bats lower down the order in ODIs, said it would be easier for him if he gets to bat higher up the order in the 50-over series against India.
“In one day cricket, it’s not as easy to go at the end. So it would be nice to bat higher up but it depends on what happens in the top four or top five. If the opportunity does come up, I’d like to take,” he said.
Maxwell pointed towards his willow when he reached 50, which was a tribute to "the best bat ever".
"I've been saying in the changerooms I've got the best bat ever," he said.
"It’s being held together by tape at the moment. The inside edge has been pretty badly hammered.
"There was a bit of it coming off in the third-last over and they told me just to change it and I was like 'nah, I'm not changing this bat, it's the best bat ever'.
"I was just showing the boys that I meant it when I said it."