Glenn Maxwell has blasted Australia to a miraculous victory over Afghanistan at the Cricket World Cup, making the highest score by an Aussie in ODI history. The Aussies looked dead and buried at 7-91 while chasing 292 for victory on Tuesday night, before Maxwell produced one of the finest knocks in one-day cricket history.
The swashbuckling all-rounder made 201 not out off 128 balls as Australia chased down the victory target with 3.1 overs remaining. The victory sealed Australia's place in the semi-finals and ensures they will play South Africa next week for a place in the final.
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"After (losing) the first two games, everyone was pretty quick to write us off," Maxwell said after his incredible knock. "To come back and win six straight now is a great effort from this group. The belief is always there and to win a game like tonight, hopefully that belief spreads to the change room."
Captain Pat Cummins, who finished 12 not out off 68 balls, declared Maxwell's innings the best in ODI history. "I think that's the greatest ODI innings," he said. "It's the best I've ever seen, probably the greatest ODI innings ever.
"We're just chatting about it, all the players, and we've decided it's one of those days where you just go 'I was there in the stadium the day Glenn Maxwell chased down that total by himself'. It's just a one-man show. I'm up the other end and don't see any gaps in the field, don't see where I'm going to score a boundary - and yet it seems like every time he sees that, it still just runs away for four. It looks so easy. He still can't move, and yet still manages to hit a six over the third man with a reverse – he's a freak."
Maxwell, who missed the last match against England due to a concussion sustained in a golf cart accident, survived a dropped catch and successfully overturned the umpire's call of lbw in the 22nd over. He seemed to take the pair of near-misses as a sign to throw caution to the wind, going berserk with 10 sixes and 21 fours.
"I was very lucky and I suppose just made the most of that," he said. "(The lbw review) was probably the kickstarter I needed to tell myself, 'I need to start playing some shots and be a bit more proactive'."
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Maxwell battled a back issue, which popped up shortly after he reached his century. He collapsed to the ground at one stage, with Adam Zampa lurking on the boundary in case Maxwell needed to retire hurt.
"I feel shocking," Maxwell admitted. "I haven't really done a whole lot of high-intensity exercise in the heat and it certainly got a hold of me today."
Maxwell's knock of 201 not out eclipsed Shane Watson's 184 as the highest-ever ODI score from an Australian. It also marked just the third time in history that a batter has surpassed 200 at the World Cup, joining Martin Guptill (237 not out in 2015) and Chris Gayle (215 in 2015).
He finished the job with a booming six, and had to do it with minimal foot movement because he was cramping so badly. "Maxi was out of this world," Cummins said. "I couldn't even get on strike! You just let him do his thing when he's doing that - how am I going to say anything to someone who's like that? Even from 200 behind, he was still mapping a way we could win the game. I was just trying to survive!"
Ibrahim Zadran had earlier recorded the first century by an Afghan player at the World Cup, scoring 129 not out as they posted their highest total (5-291) in any match at the tournament. In response, Travis Head fell for a duck in the second over and Josh Inglis got a golden duck, while David Warner (18), Mitch Marsh (24), Marnus Labuschange (14) and Marcus Stoinis (6) all failed to fire. But Maxwell saved their blushes with his insane knock, which sent the cricket world into meltdown.
"I've never seen anything like it!"
Ian Smith reacts to Glenn Maxwell's double century in the Cricket World Cup. pic.twitter.com/1IXUv49MWt
— Sky Sports Cricket (@SkyCricket) November 7, 2023
— ESPNcricinfo (@ESPNcricinfo) November 7, 2023
— Yusuf Pathan (@iamyusufpathan) November 7, 2023
GLENN MAXWELL PLAYED THE GREATEST KNOCK IN ODI HISTORY......!!!!
Double hundred with one leg when team was 91 for 7 while chasing 292 runs. pic.twitter.com/oUMPmz1k1s
— Johns. (@CricCrazyJohns) November 7, 2023
DOUBLE HUNDRED BY GLENN MAXWELL....!!!!
THIS IS UNBELIEVABLE KNOCK - THIS IS GOD LEVEL... YOU'RE ASTONISHING MAXI ..!!!! pic.twitter.com/J2bHRdu3zu
— Mufaddal Vohra (@mufaddal_vohra) November 7, 2023
— VINEETH𓃵🦖 (@sololoveee) November 7, 2023
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