Glenn Maxwell’s epic double ton upstages Afghanistan

Australia’s Glenn Maxwell, who battled severe cramps, forges a 202-run partnership for the eight wicket with skipper Cummins to take his team to an incredible victory; Zadran’s century goes in vain

November 07, 2023 06:24 pm | Updated November 08, 2023 05:45 pm IST - Mumbai

Australia’s Glen Maxwell during ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 match between Afghanistan and Australia.

Australia’s Glen Maxwell during ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 match between Afghanistan and Australia. | Photo Credit: EMMANUAL YOGINI

For Glenn Maxwell, it was all about a lot of grit and a bit of luck!

At the Wankhede Stadium on Tuesday, he stamped his class with a career-best unbeaten 201 as Australia snatched a three-wicket victory 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 on 291 for five, 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 before the Afghans completed 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.

Afghanistan’s Ibrahim Zadran celebrates his century with Mohammad Nabi during the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023  match against Australia in Mumbai on November 7, 2023.

Afghanistan’s Ibrahim Zadran celebrates his century with Mohammad Nabi during the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 match against Australia in Mumbai on November 7, 2023. | Photo Credit: PTI

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 the 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-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 was involved in 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.

However, the most significant contribution of the innings came from the seasoned Rashid Khan who went out all guns blazing with an unbeaten 35 off 18 balls.

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.

It looked enough before Maxwell had other ideas.

SCOREBOARD

AFGHANISTAN

Rahmanullah Gurbaz c Starc b Hazlewood 21 (25b, 2x4), Ibrahim Zadran (not out) 129 (143b, 8x4, 3x6), Rahmat Shah c Hazlewood b Maxwell 30 (44b, 1x4), Hashmatullah Shahidi b Starc 26 (43b, 2x4), Azmatullah Omarzai c Maxwell b Zampa 22 (18b, 1x4, 2x6), Mohammad Nabi b Hazlewood 12 (10b, 1x6), Rashid Khan (not out) 35 (18b, 2x4, 3x6); Extras (lb-5, w-10, nb-1): 16; Total (for five wkts. in 50 overs): 291.

FALL OF WICKETS

1-38 (Gurbaz, 7.6 overs), 2-121 (Rahmat, 24.4), 3-173 (Hashmatullah, 37.2), 4-210 (Omarzai, 42.3), 5-233 (Nabi, 45.3).

AUSTRALIA BOWLING

Starc 9-0-70-1, Hazlewood 9-0-39-2, Maxwell 10-0-55-1, Cummins 8-0-47-0, Zampa 10-0-58-1, Head 3-0-15-0, Stoinis 1-0-2-0.

AUSTRALIA

David Warner b Omarzai 18 (29b, 3x4), Travis Head c Alikhil b Naveen 0 (2b), Mitchell Marsh lbw b Naveen 24 (11b, 2x4, 2x6), Marnus Labuschagne run out 14 (28b, 2x4), Josh Inglis c Ibrahim b Omarzai 0 (1b), Glenn Maxwell (not out) 201 (128b, 21x4, 10x6), Marcus Stoinis lbw b Rashid 6 (7b, 1x4), Mitchell Starc c Alikhil b Rashid 3 (7b), Pat Cummins (not out) 12 (68b, 1x4); Extras (b-4, lb-1, w-10): 15; Total (for seven wkts. in 46.5 overs): 293.

FALL OF WICKETS

1-4 (Head, 1.2), 2-43 (Marsh, 5.4), 3-49 (Warner, 8.1), 4-49 (Inglis, 8.2), 5-69 (Labuschagne, 14.1), 6-87 (Stoinis, 16.4), 7-91 (Starc, 18.3).

AFGHANISTAN BOWLING

Mujeeb 8.5-1-72-0, Naveen 9-0-47-2, Omarzai 7-1-52-2, Rashid 10-0-44-2, Noor 10-1-53-0, Nabi 2-0-20-0.

Toss: Afghanistan.

PoM: Maxwell.

Australia won by three wickets with 19 balls to spare.

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