201 not out (on one leg!)
Outrageous Maxwell leads Aussies to win for the ages
THE city of Mumbai with its famous maidans is steeped in cricket history and this iconic ground alone has seen many a special innings.
But in all its years, it would never have seen a knock as utterly ridiculous as the double hundred it witnessed from Australia’s Glenn Maxwell, who battled through a back injury and body cramps against Afghanistan to snatch a three-wicket win from the jaws of defeat.
‘It just felt like it was me and Patty (Cummins) having fun out there,’ said Maxwell. ‘I lived a charmed life. I was very lucky and I made the most of that. I’ve had those types of innings before, where I’ve been given a chance and I haven’t made the most of it. To see it through with a not-out is something I’m really proud of.’
As Maxwell heaved Mujeeb Ur Rahman into the stands to secure Australia’s place in the World Cup semi-finals, the Wankhede Stadium rose in appreciation of a gladiatorial innings for the ages.
Maxwell had arrived in the middle in a chase of 292 to face a hat-trick ball with Cummins’ side 49 for four. That he was even in the side was remarkable, considering he fell off a golf buggy last week and was ruled out of last Saturday’s game against England with concussion.
With the hat-trick ball, Azmatullah Omarzai found Maxwell’s outside edge but the ball failed to carry to the wicketkeeper Ikram Alikhil. But when Alikhil pulled off a stunning reflex catch to remove Mitchell Starc, Australia were 91 for seven and Jonathan Trott’s men were on their way to another famous scalp.
Ultimately, only the heroic Maxwell denied them as he did the outrageous, smashing 21 fours and 10 sixes for an unbeaten 201 off 128 deliveries. With Cummins, he put on an unbroken record eighthwicket partnership of 202, of which Cummins contributed just 12 off 68 deliveries. He was a spectator with the best seat in the house as Maxwell literally stood and delivered.
‘ It’s the greatest ODI innings I’ve ever seen,’ said Cummins. ‘It’s one of those days where you just go, I was there in the stadium the day Glenn Maxwell chased down the total all by himself.’
At one stage, with 55 runs needed, Maxwell fell flat on the floor as he finished a run and was unable to move. Not for the first time in the innings, Adam Zampa was waiting on the boundary edge to bat as Australia’s physio Nick Jones came out. But again, Maxwell somehow found the will to carry on through the pain. He was unable to run yet continued to clear the ropes, playing off one leg at times.
From that point, he dealt in boundaries alone, with 50 of the last 56 runs coming with fours and sixes around the ground. With 21 needed off four overs, Maxwell needed just four balls as he finished Afghanistan off going six, six, four and six.
For Afghanistan, it was a huge missed opportunity to put themselves on the brink of a historic first World Cup semi-final. Trott admitted: ‘It was a world- class innings but we certainly helped him along the way. When you get an opportunity against a side like Australia, you’ve got to grab it.’