Save articles for later
Add articles to your saved list and come back to them any time.
Chasing 292 for victory against Afghanistan at Wankhede Stadium on Tuesday night, Australia had slumped to 7-91 in the 19th over, their hopes of a World Cup semi-final berth flat lining. But enter the one-man wrecking crew that was Glenn Maxwell, the Victorian producing an unbeaten double century that captain Pat Cummins later described as the “the greatest ODI innings that’s ever happened”.
Having earlier in this tournament blasted the fastest World Cup one-day international century of all time, off 40 balls against the Netherlands, Maxwell, 35, this time had to call on more than just his profound array of shots.
This innings was all the more remarkable because of the courage and character he displayed, having finished unable to run between the wickets because of a bad back and full-body cramps, instead clearing the boundary with shots without moving his legs in astonishing scenes.
Maxwell finished undefeated on 201 off 128 deliveries, confirming victory with 19 deliveries remaining, and a spot in the semi-final against resurgent South Africa.
“Clearly the best ODI innings ever. Has always been the most exciting player in the world to watch in my opinion,” Australian great Adam Gilchrist said.
He hit 21 fours as well as 10 sixes, the last coming off the final ball of the match, capping an unbroken 202-run stand with Cummins – a record partnership. Such was the magnitude of the feat that it was only the third double century ever in a World Cup, and the first in a run chase.
Glenn Maxwell’s double century was astounding in taking Australia to a miraculous victory over Afghanistan.Credit: Getty Images
It was the first double century by a batsman other than an opener, and also the highest in ODI history by an Australian man, edging Shane Watson’s 185 not out against Bangladesh in 2011.
“From Max pressure to Max performance! This has been the best ODI knock I’ve seen in my life,” Indian batting great Sachin Tendulkar said.
Maxwell was recalled for this clash, having missed the last game after being concussed in a bizarre accident when he fell off a golf cart. In need of a touch of luck, he was given just that.
Arriving at the crease in the ninth over, the all-rounder had to deal with a hat-trick ball from Azmatullah Omarzai, narrowly surviving a review for lbw after edging a delivery aimed at off-stump. On 27, he successfully overturned an lbw appeal from Noor Ahmad, the delivery adjudged to be just clearing the stumps. Cummins told Maxwell he felt Maxwell had taken a big stride down the pitch and felt the ball would have cleared the stumps, reinforcing the review call. It was then that Maxwell realised the approach he needed to take.
“[We didn’t plan] too much, to be honest. Basically, we stuck to our own batting plans as much as we possibly could. And I suppose for me, it was still trying to be positive, still trying to take them on and try and produce bad balls, or something else I could score off,” he said.
“I felt like if I just defended my way through, they would have been able to put me under a bit of pressure. The lbw that was just going over the top, that was probably the kickstart I needed, to tell myself I needed to start playing some shots and be a bit more proactive.”
Afghanistan could only blame themselves for grassed chances when the batsman was on 24 and 33, the latter a regulation chance at short fine-leg from Mujeeb-ur-Rahman.
Those opportunities, along with the video replay, came within 12 deliveries. Had Maxwell been dismissed early, Australia would have been in dire trouble at 8-112.
“Look, it would have been nice if it was chanceless. I lived a charmed life out there. I was very lucky. And I suppose I just made the most of that,” Maxwell said.
“I feel like I’ve had those types of innings before, where I’ve been given a chance and I haven’t made the most of it, so to see it through tonight with a not out at the end is something I’m really proud of.”
For Afghanistan captain Hashmatullah Shahidi, there was nothing but disappointment.
“Cricket is a funny game. It was unbelievable for us. We were in the game, our bowlers started very well, but at the end of the day, the dropped chance hurt us. That was the moment that we missed, and after that, Maxwell didn’t stop. He played every kind of shot, and I can give credit to him,” he said.
Battle of mind and body
In hot and humid conditions, a sore back was compounded when the cramps set in, leaving him with no other option than to hobble between wickets, as if he was doing the “penguin dance”. He required medical treatment at the end of most overs after reaching his century and, for a couple of overs, he and Cummins even stuck a plan to avoid running and remain at the end of the pitch each was at.
Glenn Maxwell is treated by Australian physiotherapist Ben Jones and 12th man Sean Abbott after collapsing with cramp.Credit: Getty
At the end of one over, he collapsed on the ground and lay flat on his back, his evening appearing over. Adam Zampa, the next man in, stood on the edge of the outfield, but Maxwell fought on.
“He literally couldn’t move, then the physio [Ben Jones] was out there obviously and he kind of convinced Maxi that if he came off, he might be worse off. ‘Try and hang out there, stand up, and that’s probably your best bet. Because once you go off with that much cramp, there’s no guarantee you’re going to get back out there’,” Cummins recounted later.
Unable to step into his shots, Maxwell opted for a stand-and-deliver approach. Positioned deep in the crease, he swatted deliveries across the line to and over the boundary, essentially relying on his brilliant hand-eye co-ordination. However, he later told the travelling mediack that this was nothing new, as he had used a similar approach against Afghanistan in 2015. He also added he completed batting drills involving no footwork, where he relies only on hand speed.
Cummins could not believe the range of shots a hobbled Maxwell conjured.
“He can’t move and still manages to hit a six over the third man with the reverse [sweep] – he’s a freak. He hits into different areas, he makes it look so easy, and when you’re up against someone like that as a bowler, you just, you don’t have many options,” Cummins said.
“We were just chatting about it, all the players, and we’ve decided it’s one of those days where you just go: ‘I was there in the stadium the day Glenn Maxwell chased down that total by himself’.”
Veteran Indian commentator Harsha Bhogle said it was the greatest ODI knock ever.
“This, in my book, is the greatest white-ball innings there has been, simply because of the pain he had to endure, the situation, it was 90 for seven, and before that it was 69 for five, and from there to chase 290, the last 70 runs on one foot, playing some of the most insane shots … his body was contorted into the weirdest of shapes because that was all he could do,” Bhogle told Cricbuzz Live.
As Maxwell threatened the record books, his stunning counterattack was on full display. He thumped a six, six, four and six off Mujeeb Ur Rahman to become the first Australian, and ninth man overall, to post an ODI double century.
“One of the greatest individual performances on a cricket field. One of the greatest innings one would ever see. A great lesson to Never Give Up. Take a bow Glenn Maxwell. That was quite incredible,” Indian batting great VVS Laxman said.
Pakistan great Wasim Akram was in awe. “This is easily the best ODI innings I have seen recently – take a bow,” Akram said.
New Zealand great and renowned commentator Ian Smith was shocked.
“It’s easy to say it’s the greatest, but I’ve never seen anything like it, I doubt I’ll ever see anything like it again,” Smith told Sky Sports.
Jonathan Trott, the former England batsman and now Afghanistan coach, said Maxwell had been “spectacular” in the way he capitalised on his opponent’s mistakes.
“Well, it’s a case of we got ourselves into position and should have capitalised, obviously dropped two chances, and gave a person like Maxwell a chance. He’s going to run with it, and he almost played with a bit of freedom and almost freed him up a little bit, and gave a bit of momentum back to them. I thought it was a spectacular innings, a world-class innings. But, yeah, we certainly helped him along the way,” Trott said.
While a semi-final has been booked, the Australians still have to face Bangladesh in their final pool match, on Saturday. Maxwell will have a few days rest, but is unsure if he’ll venture to the golf course.
“Hopefully, we enjoy a few days in Pune, and I stay away from golf carts,” Maxwell joked.
Sports news, results and expert commentary. Sign up for our Sport newsletter.
Watch every Australian game plus other big match-ups live and free on Nine, 9Gem and 9Now.
Join us for live coverage online of every Australian match with our live blogs.
Most Viewed in Sport
From our partners
Source: Read Full Article