Maxwell joins Clark in rare club for Australia

For 26 years Belinda Clark was the only member of Australia’s ODI double-ton club, until now

Mission Impossible: Mercurial Maxwell does the unthinkable

Glenn Maxwell’s miracle innings against Afghanistan on Wednesday morning has been immediately thrust onto the podium of the greatest ever ODI performances, and the allrounder’s incredible feat rewrote a bevy of records.

Amid the chaos in Mumbai, Maxwell also ticked off a number of ODI ‘firsts’.

His 201no was the first time a player has scored a double century from a team batting second.

Perhaps even more impressively, with all 12 ODI double centuries across the men’s and women’s game coming from players batting at No.1 or No.2, Maxwell also became the first non-opener to pass the elusive milestone.

But there’s one key stat the 35-year-old wasn’t first to: Aussies to score 200.

That record was first passed by one of Australia’s greatest ever cricketers, Belinda Clark, who hammered an unbeaten 229 against Denmark in 1997.

And now, after 26 years as the sole member of the exclusive double-ton club, Clark welcomes in a second member in Maxwell.

The parallels of the pair’s efforts are immediately apparent, with both coming in World Cups and both in Mumbai.

And while Clark’s was scored against an admittedly weak Denmark side, it remained the highest score by either a male or female in one-day cricket for almost 17 years, until Rohit Sharma’s 264 against Sri Lanka in Kolkata in November 2014.

Then aged 27, Clark unleashed on a hapless Denmark attack during the World Cup group match with her unbeaten 229 coming from 155 balls.

Having won the toss and opted to bat, her legendary appetite for runs proved more than a match for the Danes as the then 27-year-old found the boundary 22 times in a whirlwind knock.

She shared stands of 168 and 136 with Lisa Keightley and Karen Rolton respectively, helping Australia to a mammoth 3-412.

Earlier on that same day, England star Charlotte Edwards had broken the record for the highest score in women’s ODIs, posting 173no against Ireland.

But it was a record that lasted only hours as Clark swiftly bested her Ashes rival.

Her innings, which included 22 fours and no sixes, was compiled in considerably different fashion to an at times incapacitated Maxwell who hit just one fewer four but cleared the rope 10 times.

Full interview: Maxwell reflects on bonkers innings

For over two decades Clark’s mark remained the only double century scored in women’s ODIs, until New Zealand’s Amelia Kerr smashed 232no against Ireland in 2018.

Although the calibre of bowling may not have been the most challenging she encountered in her 133-match international career, the fact it was only her second knock on Indian soil made it more impressive.

She had been denied the chance to bat in Australia’s tournament opener against Ireland, when the match was abandoned without a ball being bowled due to incessant rain.

Belinda Clark enters Hall of Fame

“My aim for the day was to bat for the 50 overs to make sure I was comfortable with Indian conditions for the rest of the tournament,” Clark told Cricket Country of her record knock in 2015.

“I didn’t set out to score a big score but just to make sure I was concentrating well and hitting the ball nicely.”

Denmark were bowled out for 49 in reply, with Clark going on to captain Australia to their fourth World Cup title, defeating New Zealand in the final at Eden Gardens.

Belinda Clark leads a lap of honour after victory in the 1997 World Cup Final at Eden Gardens // Getty

Clark’s ODI knock for the ages was just one highlight in a record-breaking career that saw her named Wisden’s Australia Cricketer of the Year in 1998 and inducted into both the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame and the Sports Australia Hall of Fame 2011, before entering the Australian Cricket Hall of Fame in 2014.

In 15 Tests, 118 ODIs and one T20I for Australia Clark amassed 5,767 runs, including a century on Test debut against India in 1991, while she captained the Southern Stars to a second World Cup victory in 2005.