Australia have reached the semifinals of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023, courtesy an all-time great one-day international (ODI) innings from Glenn Maxwell as they beat Afghanistan by three wickets in Mumbai.
Maxwell, heavily cramped and struggling to run, scored 201 runs as the five-time world champions produced a stunning turnaround to beat a confident Afghanistan side at the Wankhede Stadium on Tuesday evening.
It was a record run-chase at the stadium in Mumbai and it came after Australia had been reduced to 91-7 in the 19th over, after Afghanistan chose to bat first and posted a total of 291-5.
— ICC Cricket World Cup (@cricketworldcup) November 7, 2023
‘Never seen anything like this’
“The most remarkable thing you will ever see in cricket,” former New Zealand cricketer Ian Smith shouted on commentary as Maxwell hit a six to seal the win for Australia and cross 200 runs for himself.
Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting, who has won three World Cup titles, said Maxwell played the inning “on no legs.”
“I have played a lot of cricket, and I have watched a lot of cricket, but I have never seen anything like this,” a stunned Ponting said, adding, “It is something you will never, ever see again in international cricket.”
When Maxwell came out to bat for Australia, they four wickets down for 49 runs in the ninth over and lost three more for 41 runs over the next 10 overs.
Afghan pacers Naveen-ul-Haq and Azmatullah Omarzai pegged Australia back with two wickets apiece in their opening spells.
Star leg-spinner Rashid Khan then chipped in with two wickets to send Australia reeling.
But the 35-year-old Maxwell put up a 202-run partnership with captain Pat Cummins and dragged himself and his team over the line with a barrage of fours and sixes.
At the end of his heroic innings, Maxwell had hit 21 fours and 10 sixes in 128 balls. His partner Cummins only scored 12 runs off 68 balls in the match-winning partnership.
‘Maxwell didn’t stop’
Earlier, Ibrahim Zadran became the first Afghanistan player to score a century in a Cricket World Cup match as he led them to a total of 291 runs in their 50 overs.
Zadran’s 143-ball-129 comprised eight fours and three sixes.
Rashid showed his all-round abilities to hit a quick 35 as Afghanistan closed the innings with a flourish.
Afghanistan were shocked as a hobbling Maxwell kept hitting boundaries despite being unable to run as he suffered from cramps and backache.
Captain Hashmatullah Shahidi said it was an unbelievable result for his team.
“We were in the game, our bowlers started very well, but the dropped chances hurt us and that was the moment, and after that, Maxwell didn’t stop. I have to give credit to him,” he said after the match.
Shahidi said his team were bitterly disappointed to let the game slip away.
“We didn’t think it was going to happen this way, but it’s part of the game. That’s cricket.”
— Afghanistan Cricket Board (@ACBofficials) November 7, 2023