Incredible. Unbelievable. Astonishing. Astounding. Staggering. Glenn Maxwell probably played the best innings ever in ODIs to secure two points for the struggling Australia, who were on the brink of an ignominious defeat at the hands of Australians. The Afghans would have felt the match was done and dusted after dismissing Mitchell Starc as Australia was reeling on the score of 91 for 7. It was not to be, as Maxwell dismantled the Afghan bowling to create new history for the Australians.
Australians were relieved to welcome their two stars, Glenn Maxwell and Mitchell Marsh, back in the team. Cameron Green dropped to the bench to accommodate Marsh. Steve Smith was suffering from vertigo, so he was rested for this game in the scorching Mumbai heat.
Afghanistan recorded back-to-back 7 wicket victories in consecutive games for the first time in their history. Fazalhaq Farooqi, who was wicketless in the last outing against the Netherlands, was replaced by Naveen Ul Haq.
1. David Warner 2. Travis Head 3. Mitchell Marsh 4. Marnus Labuschagne 5. Josh Inglis 6. Glenn Maxwell 7. Marcus Stonis 8. Pat Cummins 9. Mitchell Starc 10. Adam Zampa 11. Josh Hazlewood
1. Rahmanullah Gurbaz 2. Ibrahim Zadran 3. Rahmat Shah 4. Hashmatullah Shahidi 5. Mohammed Nabi 6. Ikram Alikhil 7. Azmatullah Omarzai 8. Rashid Khan 9. Mujeeb Ur Rahman 10. Noor Ahmed 11. Naveen-Ul-Haq
Afghanistan captain Hashmatullah Shahidi won the toss and had no hesitations in choosing to bat first. Wankhede Stadium has been known as a batting paradise over the years. The average first-inning winning score is 308 in this game. Bowling under lights could turn out to be an arduous task, with dew coming into play in the evening.
|Venue||The 39th game of the 2023 World Cup was played in the iconic Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.|
|Date||The match started at 01:30 p.m. IST onwards on Tuesday, November 7.|
Captaincy & Tactics
In a stunning turn of events, Australia pulled off a miraculous victory and secured their spot in the World Cup semi-finals after finding themselves in dire straits at 91 for 7, chasing Afghanistan’s imposing total of 292. The hero of the day was none other than the extraordinary Glenn Maxwell, who played an innings for the ages, scoring an unbeaten double-century.
Earlier in the match, Ibrahim Zadran made history by becoming Afghanistan’s first-ever centurion in World Cup matches. As the Afghan bowlers Naveen-ul-Haq and Azmatullah Omarzai wreaked havoc on Australia’s top order, it seemed like an unthinkable upset was on the horizon at the Wankhede Stadium. However, Maxwell had other plans, and his sensational knock of 201 not out, including a breathtaking partnership of 202 runs with captain Pat Cummins, completely turned the tables. The result not only guaranteed Australia a place in the semi-finals but also left Afghanistan heartbroken.
However, it wasn’t just the chase that became increasingly thrilling as the match progressed. Maxwell, who had endured the scorching Mumbai heat while fielding for the entire 50 overs, began experiencing severe cramps, particularly in his legs. His legs seemingly gave up on him, causing him immense pain during the 41st over. The situation was so dire that the next batsman in line, Adam Zampa, had to wait by the boundary line while the physiotherapist attended to Maxwell, desperately trying to keep him in the game.
And keep going, he did. Battling through the pain and without moving his feet, Maxwell unleashed a barrage of sixes to lead Australia to an incredible victory. His unbeaten 201 came off just 128 deliveries, featuring 21 fours and 10 sixes. It was an innings that will be remembered as one of the greatest in the history of One Day Internationals (ODIs).
Maxwell’s heroics began in the ninth over when he walked in to face Omarzai’s hat-trick ball, with Australia struggling at 49 for 4 in pursuit of 292. He was then involved in a mix-up that cost the wicket of Marnus Labuschagne for 14. As Marcus Stoinis and Mitchell Starc also fell cheaply, leaving Australia reeling at 91 for 7, the match appeared to be all but over. However, Maxwell showed extraordinary resilience, with Cummins providing solid support like a steadfast companion, contributing just 12 runs off 68 deliveries to their record-breaking double-century partnership.
With 21 runs required from the final four overs for Australia’s victory and Maxwell’s pursuit of a double century, he unleashed a flurry of boundaries against Mujeeb Ur Rahman, hitting sixes thrice and a four to seal the deal.
Maxwell did have a stroke of luck when Mujeeb dropped a simple catch at short, fine leg while he was on 33. From there on, Maxwell unleashed his special brand of strokes. He powered Noor Ahmad over midwicket, sent Mujeeb soaring over his head, and dispatched Mohammed Nabi over midwicket as well. The reverse sweep and other audacious shots were on full display in Mumbai as he brought up his first hundred off just 76 balls. The second century took even less time, as he needed only 52 balls to reach the milestone. Cummins, on the other hand, defended resolutely, understanding his role in supporting Maxwell’s extraordinary innings.
In the end, Maxwell’s herculean efforts propelled Australia to an astonishing victory, leaving fans in awe of his exceptional display of skill, determination, and sheer audacity.
Maxwell’s record-breaking innings of 201* has left a lasting impact on the world of cricket. The Australian batsman’s phenomenal performance not only secured him the highest score ever by a No. 6 or lower batter in the history of ODIs but also marked the first double-hundred by an Australian in men’s ODI cricket. Furthermore, Maxwell’s achievement is only the third instance of a double-century being achieved in the men’s World Cups.
Maxwell’s exceptional partnership with Cummins was another remarkable feat. Their unbroken stand of 202 runs has set a new milestone for the eighth-wicket or lower partnerships in ODI cricket. This outstanding collaboration showcased their resilience and skill as they batted through various challenges to propel the Australian team towards victory.
However, amidst Maxwell’s onslaught, one Afghan bowler stood tall against the tide. Rashid Khan proved to be the only bowler who could resist Maxwell’s attacking prowess. Afghanistan’s decision to field four spinners seemed like a strategic move, but it was Naveen and Omarzai who emerged as the primary threats to Australia’s chase. Employing Test-match tactics, they bowled with precision, utilizing both swing and line-length variations effectively, even under the challenging conditions of playing under lights.
Naveen’s exceptional execution of outswingers led to the dismissals of Travis Head and Mitchell Marsh. He showcased impeccable control and skill, making it evident that he possessed qualities typically seen in seasoned bowlers. Rahmat Shah’s dropped catch at gully deprived Naveen of dismissing David Warner early in his innings. Warner managed to add 14 runs to his tally before falling victim to Omarzai’s inswinger, which shattered his off stump.
Maxwell’s monumental innings, along with the outstanding efforts of Naveen and Omarzai, added an enthralling chapter to the world of cricket. Their performances showcased the resilience, skill, and excellence that make the sport a captivating spectacle for fans worldwide.
Travis Head failed for the second time to put his mark with the bat after scoring a century against South Africa. The Australian top order fell to the swing of the Afghan pace bowlers. David Warner missed out on the opportunity to post a big score after getting dismissed by an inswinger. Josh Inglis’s batting misery continued with another golden duck. Azmatullah Omarzai has shown glimpses of his immense talent with the ball.
At only 23 years of age and playing in his 20th ODI, Omarzai demonstrated his remarkable abilities by engineering Warner’s dismissal. After initially maintaining a hard length and delivering a maiden over to Warner, Omarzai cleverly switched to a fuller delivery, successfully breaching Warner’s defenses. Omarzai’s performance during his stint in the Bangladesh Premier League earlier in the year demonstrated his command over the powerplay, and now, on the international stage, he has proved his adaptability and competence.
Omarzai’s subsequent deliveries posed further challenges when he dismissed Josh Inglis, who edged the ball to the waiting hands of the first slip. Though denied a hat-trick by Maxwell’s resilience, Omarzai’s impact on the match is etched into the history books.
Glenn Maxwell, with his incredible wristwork, has established himself as Australia’s most destructive player of spin bowling. As a result, Afghanistan’s quartet of spinners didn’t intimidate him. Despite being unable to move freely due to his cramping legs, Maxwell showcased his innovative strokeplay. He executed sweeps, reverse sweeps, and slog sweeps, albeit from a standing position. His trademark shot, the front-leg clearance over the leg side, was also modified, given his restricted mobility.
Although he couldn’t run, Maxwell exhibited his ability to create space where others can’t, utilizing his swiveling motion. This allowed him to find gaps in the field and even reverse his stance, hitting the ball over the wicketkeeper’s head. The audacity and ingenuity displayed in his strokes were remarkable. However, it’s important to note that his innings, hailed by Pat Cummins as “probably the greatest ODI innings ever,” wasn’t flawless. It was born out of desperation.
Australia found themselves in trouble at 49 for 4 when Maxwell took guard. On 11, he made a critical error by attempting a run without confirming Marnus Labuschagne’s intentions. Labuschagne failed to beat the throw, and his wicket fell with his bat still in the air. Annoyed, he questioned Maxwell’s judgment in disbelief as he trudged back to the pavilion. Maxwell bore the responsibility for his mistake and had to make amends.
At 27, Maxwell was given out lbw to a Noor Ahmed leg-break that struck him below the knee roll. However, he promptly reviewed it as he walked off the field. The ball-tracking technology revealed that the delivery would have missed the stumps. It was a crucial moment where Maxwell relied on his instincts and perhaps a glimmer of hope to request the review. This time, it played out in his favor.
Just four balls later, he survived another scare when Noor Ahmed’s delivery hit his wrists and slipped out of Mujeeb’s hands at short fine leg. Afghanistan would regret this costly mistake, as it could have potentially altered their chances of reaching the semi-finals. However, credit must be given to Maxwell for seizing the opportunity and capitalizing on it. Patrick Cummins batted with assurance and calmness. The partnership, at times, reminded me of the Smith-Finch stand against India in the semi-finals of the 2015 World Cup.
In the end, Maxwell’s performance epitomized the never-say-die spirit of Australian cricket. Regardless of how dire the situation seemed, he found a way to fight back. This incredible innings came after recovering from a concussion caused by a freak golf buggy incident, which kept him sidelined for more than a week. Additionally, he battled through debilitating cramps that can temporarily debilitate even the fittest athletes. He channeled the resilience and skill of Andrew Symonds, Michael Hussey, and Michael Bevan, combining their attributes into a superhuman performance. Maxwell’s innings will be remembered as one of the most entertaining and significant in ODI history, not only for his individual brilliance but also for its impact on the collective team effort.
The Australians showed great commitment in the outfield with some spectacular catches and fantastic fielding. They completed all of their catches to stem the flow of runs at the right time.
Afghanistan dropped Glenn Maxwell a couple of times to give him some early reprieve that eventually took the game away. Ikram Alikhil was at his usual best behind the stumps with a secure pair of hands. He showed his athleticism when he managed to catch Starc out via a deflection. But once Glenn Maxwell got going, the fielders became mere spectators of a staggering batting display.
Ibrahim Zadran became the first Afghan batsman to have scored a century at the World Cups with a mature innings of unbeaten 129 runs off 143 balls. Rashid Khan came late to play a cameo of 35 of 18 balls and boosted the run rate that eventually took Afghanistan close to 300. Josh Hazlewood was as parsimonious as he could be with the figures of 2 for 39 in his 9-over spell. Glenn Maxwell and Adam Zampa also bowled under 6 runs per over and got a wicket apiece.
Glenn Maxwell defied all the boundaries of human capability by posting a double century to snatch an Australian victory. This was his second century of the tournament after scoring one against the Netherlands. Pat Cummins scored 12 runs off 68 deliveries to give him company. Rashid Khan was brilliant early on; he picked up 2 wickets for 44 runs. Naveen-Ul-Haq claimed 2 wickets also, dismissing two of the Australian top-order batters. Azmatullah Omarzai was in the line of fire against Maxwell; he gave away 52 runs and claimed two wickets.
Afghanistan was on the brink of securing a momentous victory against the mighty Aussies, who were struggling with the swing of Afghan seamers. After 21.4 overs, Australia’s score was at 112/7. Glenn Maxwell was batting at 33 off 38 balls.
Noor Ahmed bowled the fourth delivery of the over that was down the leg side. Maxwell tried to steer that towards the fine leg region. Mujeeb Ur Rahman was waiting at fine leg. It was a straightforward grab, but Mujeeb still managed to shell that chance. The missed opportunity came back to haunt the Afghans, who could not stop Maxwell from that point on.
Australian Cricket Team snatched the unlikeliest of victories after beating Afghanistan by 3 wickets with 19 balls to spare.
Player of the Match
Glenn Maxwell smashed records on his way to the first double hundred in ODIs by an Australian; he won the Best Player of the Match award.
|Afghanistan Total: 291/5 (50 overs)||Australia Total: 293/7 (50 overs)|
|Ibrahim Zadran 129* (143)||Glenn Maxwell 201* (128)|
|Rashid Khan 35* (18)||Mitchell Marsh 24 (11)|
|Josh Hazlewood 2/39 (9)||Rashid Khan 2/44 (10)|
|Glenn Maxwell 1/55 (10)||Azmatullah Omarzai 2/52 (7)|
The Australians have sealed their passage to the last four after winning six games on the trot. Afghanistan were left to rue their missed chances on a day that could have been the most historic in their history. Now, the race for the fourth qualification spot has intensified, with three teams locked on the same amount of points. Afghanistan simply has to win when they face South Africa in the ultimate game. Australians have their last match against Bangladesh before the semi-final battle.