Glenn Maxwell produced one of the most astonishing Cricket World Cup innings by smashing unbeaten 201 off 128 balls on Tuesday to lead Australia past Afghanistan with 19 deliveries to spare and into the semifinals.
Maxwell finished his highest ODI knock unable to run between the wickets because of cramps, just slashing the ball over the boundary without moving his legs as Australia chased down its target of 292. He hit 21 fours as well as 10 sixes, the last coming off the final ball of the match.
The 35-year-old allrounder came to the rescue after Australia slumped to 91-7 in reply to Afghanistan’s 291-5. Australia were on the brink of disaster before a mind-blowing double ton from Maxwell. His innings was the highest in ODI history by an Australian and highest for a non-opener.
Australia have joined India and South Africa in the last four and damaged Afghanistan’s unlikely bid to reach the semifinals.
“I haven’t really done a whole lot of high-intensity exercise in the heat. It certainly got ahold of me today,” Maxwell said. “Lucky enough, I was able to stick it out to the end.”
Pat Cummins finished on an unbeaten 12 runs off 68 balls and the duo shared an unbeaten 202 runs partnership from 170 balls to guide them to a victory with 19 balls to spare.
Earlier, Afghanistan opener Ibrahim Zadran brought up his century, Afghanistan’s maiden hundred in ODI World Cup to help his team put up a challenging target.
“I had a good chat with Sachin Tendulkar; he shared his experience and I said before the match that I will bat like Sachin Tendulkar; he gave me a lot of energy and confidence.” Zadran said.
Naveen ul Haq and Azmatullah Omarzai shared four wickets as the Australian innings floundered initially only for Maxwell’s unimaginable effort to take it home.
“It would have been nice if it was chanceless,” said Maxwell, who was dropped on 33. “I led a charmed life out there. I was very lucky. I suppose just made the most of that.”
Australia moved to 12 points from eight games. It is third in the table, equal on points with South Africa, but trailing on net run-rate.