Maxwell’s Heroic 201 Leads Australia to World Cup Semi-Final

by: Atika Mehboob TN Sport Pakistan:
In a stunning turn of events, Glenn Maxwell’s extraordinary double-century, an unbeaten 201*, not only secured Australia’s victory but also a spot in the World Cup semi-finals. Australia, at one point, were struggling at 91 for 7 while chasing a target of 292 against Afghanistan.

Ibrahim Zadran made history as Afghanistan’s first-ever World Cup centurion, and their bowlers Naveen-ul-Haq and Azmatullah Omarzai had Australia in trouble early in their innings. However, Maxwell stepped in with a remarkable 201 not out, with 179 runs coming in an unbroken 202-run partnership with his captain, Pat Cummins, turning the game around. This victory secured Australia’s place in the final four of the tournament, alongside hosts India and South Africa, leaving Afghanistan heartbroken.

The match wasn’t the only thing intensifying as it progressed. Maxwell, who had already fielded for 50 overs in the sweltering Mumbai heat, began experiencing severe cramps, particularly in his legs. He received medical attention in the 41st over, with the physio tending to him on the boundary to keep him in the game.

Maxwell continued to play with immense determination, hitting sixes without moving his feet, and eventually bringing home a miraculous Australian win with 201 unbeaten runs off just 128 balls, including 21 fours and 10 sixes. It was an ODI innings for the ages.

Maxwell entered the game in the ninth over when Australia was 49 for 4, and he was involved in a mix-up that resulted in the dismissal of Marnus Labuschagne for 14. As wickets continued to fall, leaving Australia at 91 for 7, it seemed like the game was over. However, Maxwell’s remarkable effort, coupled with Cummins’ solid support, led to a double-century partnership.

With 21 runs needed off the final four overs, Maxwell hit 6, 6, 4, 6 against Mujeeb Ur Rahman to seal the win and reach his double-hundred.

Maxwell’s innings could have been cut short at 33 if Mujeeb had not dropped a straightforward catch. Maxwell continued to display his aggressive style, hitting boundaries and displaying his innovative shots as he reached his century off 76 balls and then his second hundred in just 52 balls. Cummins played a crucial role by defending resolutely at the other end.

Maxwell’s score of 201* is the highest by a batter at No. 6 or lower in 4696 ODIs and marks the first double-century by an Australian in ODI cricket. This remarkable partnership of 202 runs between Maxwell and Cummins is also the highest for the eighth wicket or lower in ODI cricket.

Rashid Khan was the only Afghanistan bowler to escape Maxwell’s onslaught. Despite Afghanistan fielding four spinners, it was Naveen and Omarzai who created problems for Australia. They delivered accurate lines and lengths, swinging the new ball both ways under the lights. Naveen dismissed Travis Head and Mitchell Marsh, while Omarzai troubled David Warner and Josh Inglis, narrowly missing a hat-trick.

Ibrahim Zadran led Afghanistan’s batting with an unbeaten 129, while Rashid Khan contributed 35* in the final overs to take Afghanistan to 291. However, their efforts turned into despair as they watched Australia complete an astonishing comeback.

After achieving three successful chases in a row, Afghanistan aimed to do the same against Australia. Ibrahim’s exceptional innings, along with Rashid’s late contribution, helped Afghanistan reach 291 on a slightly challenging Wankhede pitch. Despite their impressive performance, Australia’s remarkable turnaround in the chase left Afghanistan in disbelief and helplessness.


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