Maxwell’s Heroic Double Ton Stun Ambitious Afghans

Maxwell’s Heroic Double Ton Stun Ambitious Afghans

Cricket is a crazy game, you never know when things can change. And then there comes a game, an innings, a player who makes us sit back, introspect and soak in the glory of their heroics.

 Glenn Maxwell’s unbeaten 201 runs innings is one such once-in-a-blue-moon performance. Maxwell’s remarkable resilience and grit were on full display as he battled severe cramps yet saw his team through the finish line at the Wankhede Stadium, on Tuesday in the City of Dreams, Mumbai. 

Initially, even Afghanistan seemed to be having a dream run. Opener Ibrahim Zadran became the first Afghan to score a century in the World Cup and that too against the mighty Australians.

 In the second innings, the Afghan bowling attack was having a dream run with them reducing the Kangaroos to 91 runs for the loss of 7 wickets! But it was Maxwell’s Big Show that stole the game and the limelight.

The First Innings

After Afghan skipper, Hashmatullah Shahidi won the toss and opted to bat, Zadran helped put up crucial 50-run stands with number three batter Rahmat Shah(30 in 44b) and skipper Hashmatullah Shahidi(26 in 43 b). Afghanistan showcased confident strokeplay coupled with some amazing running between the wickets. 

Yet, midway through the innings, things slowed down and Zadran took a clinical approach by relying on singles. He scored his maiden century which is also the first for the Afghanistan Cricket Team in the World Cup. He ended up scoring an unbeaten 129 runs(143b, 8×4, 3×6).

However, the seasoned Rashid Khan came in all guns blazing, scoring an unbeaten 35 runs in just 18 balls. This helped Afghanistan accelerate its innings and add 75 runs in the last six overs. He smashed Maxwell for a 16-run over before hitting a couple of boundaries in the game’s last over of Mitchell Starc(9-0-70-1).

Zadran and Rashid’s heroics helped propel Afghanistan close to the 300-run mark. They ended with an ambitious total of 291 runs (loss of 5 wickets) at the end of the first innings.

The Second Innings

The Afghan bowling attack looked at its vicious best as they managed to restrict Australia to 91/7 in the 19th over. Pacer Naveen-u-Haq(9-0-47-2), Azmatullah Omarzai(7-1-52-2) and seasoned spinner Rashid Khan(10-0-44-2) troubled the Kangaroos immensely in the initial period of the game, before Maxwell took control.

Maxwell turned into a maniac hunter as he chased the target, hammering one after the other. And just when things started to look up for the Australians, Maxwell got a bad sprain in his back. Yet, he acted like a madman as he juggled with a severe back cramp while hitting the white ball all across the ground.

The Australian physio, Nick Jones deserves a lot of credit as he ran across the field after every over to provide much-needed adjustments to Maxwell. He truly earned his keep yesterday.

Maxwell continued to play like a crouching tiger as he limped and wobbled yet he stood tall like an Iron Wall. At the end of the game, his wagon wheel looked like a piece of art. He went 360 degrees, hitting deliveries left, right and centre that too in a high-pressure situation. 

Maxwell finished things off in style by hitting a maximum when only 5 runs were required and he himself was on 195*. He ended up scoring a gargantuan 201 runs(not out in 128 balls), smashing an unbelievable 21 fours and 10 sixes. This is the highest-ever score by an Australian in World Cup cricket history.

This innings by Glenn Maxwell will go down In Australian cricket folklore. There is no doubt that this was the greatest ODI innings of all time and one of the greatest chases in the history of cricket. The near Miraculous recovery of Australia which led to one of the most astonishing chases in cricket history seemed like it was destined to be.

The Result

Australia won by three wickets with 19 balls to spare. Glenn Maxwell was named Player of the Match for his historic unbeaten double-ton. 

The Road Ahead

With this, the Aussies have finally qualified for the semi-finals. The Afghans must be disappointed as they played really well, but they still remain in the playoff race with New Zealand and Pakistan hot on their heels. 

Afghanistan’s next and final match is with South Africa (on Friday, 10th Nov ‘23). It is going to be challenging for the Afghans but it would hold the key to their playoff aspirations.

Australia has one game left in the tournament with Bangladesh on Saturday (11th Nov ‘23).

Here’s the latest look at the points table after Tuesday’s match:
TeamMatchesWonLost Points
South Africa(Q)86212
New Zealand8448
Sri Lanka(E)8264

(Q = Qualified, E = Eliminated)

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