For Glenn Maxwell, it was all about a lot of grit and a bit of luck. The Australian played one of the greatest ODI World Cup knocks at the Wankhede Stadium on Tuesday to take his side to a win against Afghanistan from a point where victory looked improbable.
Maxwell stamped his class with a career-best unbeaten 201 as Australia snatched a three-wicket win against Afghanistan from the jaws of defeat and sealed a spot in the World Cup semifinals.
After Ibrahim Zadran’s maiden century (129 n.o., 143b, 8x4, 3x6) in the tournament helped Afghanistan put up 291 for 5, not many expected Australia to turn things around as it was reeling at 91 for seven in the 19th over.
With Afghanistan bowlers - Naveen-ul-Haq, Azmatullah Omarzai and Rashid Khan - breathing fire, it looked like a matter of time for the Afghans to complete the formalities.
But Maxwell and captain Pat Cummins had other plans. They forged a 202-run unbeaten stand for the eighth wicket and scripted one of the greatest success stories of Australian cricket. Maxwell, who battled severe cramps, could not run for singles for most part of the innings and dealt mostly in fours and sixes. Once he got going, Afghanistan was gone with the wind.
The Afghan players, however, will be dejected with the way they lost control over the match. Maxwell was on 27 when he managed to overturn an LBW decision and a while later, Mujeeb-ur-Rahman dropped a sitter when the Australian star was on 33.
There was no looking back. While Cummins hung in there with an unbeaten 68-ball 12, it was Maxwell who went hammer and tongs at Afghanistan bowlers.
Earlier in the day, inspired by batting lessons from the Indian legend Sachin Tendulkar on the eve of the game, the 21-year-and-330-days-old Zadran batted through the innings and became the first cricketer from Afghanistan to score a World Cup century.
After his team won the toss and opted to bat, Zadran made it a point to forge crucial half-century stands with Rahmat Shah and skipper Hashmatullah Shahidi. However, midway through the innings, it seemed like a middling total was in the offing on an outright batting surface as Zadran failed to accelerate and relied mostly on singles.
Most significant contribution of the innings came from the seasoned Rashid Khan, who went out all guns blazing with an unbeaten 35 off 18. As he ripped apart Maxwell for a 16-run over and hit a couple of more boundaries in the final over of Mitchell Starc, Afghanistan managed to add 75 runs from the final six overs to take its tally close to the 300-run mark. But in the end, that was not enough.
- Horner fate set to be decided before Bahrain GP
- Murray drops retirement hint after 500th hardcourt win in Dubai
- Ranji Trophy LIVE score, Day 5 Quarterfinal updates: Mumbai leads by 415 vs Baroda; Karnataka steady in 371-run chase v Baroda
- New Zealand’s Wagner retires from international cricket
- WPL 2024: All-round show helps Delhi Capitals thrash UP Warriorz by nine wickets for season’s first win