Afghanistan will rue their dropped catches that gifted Glenn Maxwell two lives en route to the first ODI double century from an Australian male
'He's a freak': Maxwell innings lauded as greatest ever
Pat Cummins labelled Glenn Maxwell's double-century against Afghanistan as the greatest ODI innings of all time as Afghanistan lamented a series of squandered chances to dismiss him.
Maxwell's unbeaten 201 from just 128 deliveries is being hailed as one of the finest performances in cricket history, having singlehandedly lifted his side from 7-91 to chase down 292 and seal a spot in the World Cup semi-finals.
It came despite the mercurial 35-year-old battling full-body cramps for much of the back half of his innings and having been sidelined from their previous match due to a concussion in a golf-cart mishap.
"I think that's the greatest ODI innings I've ever seen. It's probably the greatest ODI innings ever," said Cummins, who made 12 off 68 balls in a 202-run stand with Maxwell, the biggest ODI partnership for the eighth wicket or lower.
"We're just chatting about it, all the players and we’ve decided it's one of those days where you just go, 'I was there in the stadium the day Glenn Maxwell chased down that total by himself'.
"He was cramping but I think you saw out there how much he loves playing for Australia and (that he’d) do anything to play."
Ben Stokes, who lays claim to one of the best Test knocks of all-time with his Headingley miracle hand during the 2019 Ashes, and Australia's legendary wicketkeeper-batter Adam Gilchrist were among those to voice their approval.
Congratulations @Gmaxi_32 Clearly the best ODI innings ever. Has always been the most exciting player in the world to watch in my opinion.— Adam Gilchrist (@gilly381) November 7, 2023
My goodness Maxi 😮😮😮— Ben Stokes (@benstokes38) November 7, 2023
A wonderful knock by @IZadran18 to put Afghanistan in a good position. They started well in the 2nd half and played good cricket for 70 overs but the last 25 overs from @Gmaxi_32 was more than enough to change their fortune.— Sachin Tendulkar (@sachin_rt) November 7, 2023
From Max pressure to Max performance! This has been… pic.twitter.com/M1CBulAgKw
This is easily the best ODI innings I have seen recently take a bow @Gmaxi_32— Wasim Akram (@wasimakramlive) November 7, 2023
Glenn Maxwell reminded us tonight about the intrinsic beauty, unpredictability and inspiring drama of this wonderful game. Thank you👏🏻👏🏻.— Ian Raphael Bishop (@irbishi) November 7, 2023
Cummins could hardly believe the range of shots Maxwell played while he was hobbled.
"He can't move and still manages to hit a six over the third man with the reverse (sweep) – he’s a freak," said the Australia captain.
"He hits into different areas, he makes it look so easy, and when you're up against someone like that as a bowler, you just, you don't have many options."
Maxwell was dropped on 24 and 33, the second a simple chance at short fine-leg from Mujeeb-ur-Rahman, who had salt rubbed into his wound when the Victorian hit consecutive sixes off him to ice the chase.
"We obviously gave them two lives," said Afghanistan coach Jonathan Trott, the former England batter. "You give any world-class player two lives, he's going to hurt you.
"It's ended up costing us a game today, an important game, the fielding."
Afghanistan would have virtually guaranteed their first win over Australia in any format had an lbw review off Noor Ahmed, when Maxwell was on 29, stayed with the on-field decision.
Ball-tracking showed it was narrowly going over the top and Trott admitted the missed chances had a mental effect on his players.
"When unfortunately the second catch went down, everyone just seemed to sort of (start) waiting for Maxwell to get out," he said.
"I didn't see a lot of encouragement or people cheering up each other and encouraging each other. It seemed like was a little bit 'hopefully we'll still win' type thing.
"When you get an opportunity against a side like Australia, you've got to grab it. They're not going to just give it to you. And you've got to take it. If you get a chance to take it, you've got to take it.
"That's the type of things we'll learn from today and what we just spoke about in the dressing room.
"Full credit to him, the way that he played to get a double hundred is phenomenal. He deserved to win the game …but certainly, there are a few things we could have done differently."
Australia's 2023 ODI World Cup fixtures
October 8: Lost to India by six wickets
October 12: Lost to South Africa by 134 runs
October 16: Beat Sri Lanka by five wickets
October 20: Beat Pakistan by 62 runs
October 25: Beat Netherlands by 309 runs
October 28: Beat New Zealand by five runs
November 4: Beat England by 33 runs
November 7: Beat Afghanistan by three wickets
November 11: v Bangladesh, Pune, 4pm AEDT
Australia squad: Pat Cummins (c), Sean Abbott, Alex Carey, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Josh Inglis, Marnus Labuschagne, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, David Warner, Adam Zampa