The legend of Glenn Maxwell continues to grow.
The Australian all-rounder, who increasingly looks more of a superman with a bat in his hand, played a blinder to give his team a stunning last-ball victory, by five wickets, in the third T20I at the ACA Stadium on Tuesday.
The win ensured the series was still alive, as India’s lead was reduced to 2-1 with two matches remaining.
Maxwell (104 n.o., 48b, 8x4, 8x6) hit Prasidh Krishna over his head for four when two were needed off the last ball. After Axar Patel’s penultimate over went for 22, the visitor needed 21 off the last, the first ball of which was hit for four through square-leg by captain Matthew Wade (28 n.o., 16b, 3x4, 1x6). He then took a single to set the stage for the Big Show, who hit 6,4,4,4 off the last four balls.
The unbroken sixth-wicket partnership was worth 91. Prasidh’s none for 68 became the most expensive figures for India in T20Is.
Earlier, Maxwell had set the Australian record for the most expensive over in the format, conceding 30 in the only over he bowled – the last of the innings.
It was indeed a memorable chase by Australia after India, riding on a brilliant hundred by opener Ruturaj Gaikwad (123 not out, 57b, 13x4, 7x6), posted 222 for three after being put in.
It was a maiden T20I hundred for Gaikwad. It was also the first T20I hundred by an Indian against Australia.
That is what the statistics will tell you. What they don’t is the sheer joy he gave to the near full-house with his beautiful shots all around the park.
After watching Yashasvi Jaiswal and Ishan Kishan trudging back to the dugout inside three overs, he was content to play the supporting role to captain Suryakumar Yadav (39, 29b, 5x4, 2x6). Their third-wicket stand of 57 steadied the ship.
Gaikwad was batting on 22 off 22 balls when Suryakumar was caught behind off Aaron Hardie. He switched gears in elegant fashion, after he was joined by Tilak Varma (31 n.o., 24b, 4x4). A gorgeous six over cover off Tanveer Sangha alone would show his class. He added 141 for the unfinished fourth wicket with Tilak.
Jason Behrendorff stood out among the Aussie bowlers yet again. The left-arm pacer, who was strangely omitted for the last match after being the pick of the attack in the first, conceded just 12 off his four overs, on his return to the ground where he had the starring role in Australia’s eight-wicket win a T20I six years ago.
Maxwell ensured that his effort did not go in vain. It was a third incredible hundred in a little over a month by the gifted batter.
Maxwell had lit up the World Cup with his 106 (44b) against Netherlands and 201 not out (128b) against Afghanistan. The Indian team could heave a sigh of relief, though: he is flying home.
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