‘It has got to be the greatest thing that has ever happened.’
An exhausted Glenn Maxwell termed Tuesday night “his own” after pulling off a superhuman effort, which Australia skipper Pat Cummins described as the “greatest ever” ODI knock.
Cummins watched the mayhem unfold from close as he saw Maxwell brave painful cramps to produce an astonishing 201-run knock that floored Afghanistan in the ICC World Cup match at the Wankhede stadium in Mumbai.
Chasing a target of 292 — made possible by 21-year-old Ibrahim Zadran, who etched his name in Afghanistan’s cricket history by scoring the country’s first-ever World Cup hundred — Maxwell produced an astonishing double century and singlehandedly steered Australia into another World Cup semi-final with a three-wicket victory.
“It would have been nice if it was a chanceless knock, but I had my chances. To make the most of it tonight was something I can be proud of,” said Maxwell, at the post-match presentation ceremony, referring to a couple of catches that the Afghans dropped when Australia were precariously placed.
For his skipper, who had the best seat in the house during a World record stand of 202, it was an “I was there kind of moment”.
“Ridiculous. Don’t know how to describe it. Great win! It has got to be the greatest thing that has ever happened. One of those days people will say yeah, I was at the stadium for this game,” said Cummins.
Maxwell was a touch cross with critics who had written the Australians off after back-to-back defeats in the first two games — against India and South Africa.
“Amazing! After the first two games people were quick to write us off. The belief was always there (as a team). After today, it would have gone a bit higher.”
On suffering cramps, he said it was due to the extreme heat and him not doing his physical drills prior to the game.
“It was hot while fielding today. I haven’t done a lot of exercise in the heat; it got a hold on me today. I wanted to stay back and get some movement (on my legs).”
Maxwell said he had no option but remain positive when Australia were staring at an embarrassing defeat after being reduced to 92 for 7.
“Not too much (plans), just stick to the batting plans as much as possible. For me, still be positive, still look to play my shots.”
The DRS call that saved him also helped him unwind and go on the counter-attack.
“That lbw. It was going just above (the stumps); probably that made me be more proactive. A hint of swing and nip (off the surface), as it happens here under lights. They bowled beautifully to exploit that.”
Cummins felt that Maxwell always has a plan.
“He (Maxwell) was great, he was calm. He always has a plan. Even from 200 behind to be able to win the game that way, it was really special.”
- World Cup 2023
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