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Cramped Maxwell's double ton stings Afghanistan, Australia through to World Cup semis
World Cup
Photo courtesy: X/@ICC

Cramped Maxwell's double ton stings Afghanistan, Australia through to World Cup semis

| @indiablooms | 08 Nov 2023, 01:01 am

Mumbai/UNI: Glenn Maxwell took charge after Australia were seven down and led them to an all-time great win at the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup against Afghanistan at Wankhede Stadium here on Tuesday.

An astonishing double century from Glenn Maxwell (201*) helped Australia qualify for the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup semifinals.

He was suffering cramps in the latter stages of his innings and fought his way through to stay at the crease. He found good support in his skipper Pat Cummins.

Taking on the Afghanistan spinners, he smashed 10 fours and three sixes on the way to his century. Almost single-handedly, he raised Australia from 98/7 at the end of the 20-over mark, to 194/7 at the end of the 34th over.

This was the highest individual score in a Cricket World Cup chase.

Photo courtesy: X/@ICCPhoto courtesy: X/@ICC

Maxwell's brilliant knock took the shape of a heroic feat, when he fought on at the crease despite cramping. He hobbled around the wicket for singles, even as he took boundaries on offer.

After slipping while taking a run, his condition worsened. But Maxwell, unable to run now, continued on one leg. He unleashed a set of exquisite strokes to get the Kangaroos, within hitting distance of a famous win.

He found great support in Australia skipper Pat Cummins, whose patient 12 came off 68 balls. A flurry of big hits helped Australia finish the game in the 47th over.

In the first innings, a splendid century for Ibrahim Zadran (129*), sturdy knocks from the middle-order batsmen, and a hefty charge by the lower-order helped Afghanistan get to their highest Cricket World Cup score.

Naveen-ul-Haq struck in his very first over, getting Travis Head to nick one behind the wicket.

Mitchell Marsh attacked to pick up the scoring rate, but was eventually undone by a brilliant Naveen delivery, which skidded in and thudded into his pads and the umpire raised his finger after an appeal.

Azmatullah Omarzai's double strike soon reduced Australia from 49/2 to 49/4 in the ninth over.

Australia's effort now heavily depended on Marnus Labuschagne and Maxwell. The duo added 20 runs for the fifth wicket, before Labuschagne was run out by a splendid effort by Rahmat Shah.

Photo courtesy: UNIPhoto courtesy: UNI

Rashid Khan arrived in the 15th over, and took no time to grab crucial wickets. The bowler whose seven wickets before this game had come at an average above 40, was at his very best from the very start. His two wickets supplemented the early damage and saw to it that Australia's innings sunk even further.

Maxwell and Pat Cummins managed to hold on over the next few overs, even as Afghanistan spinners continued to dominate.

Maxwell then lifted the pace of the innings, with a set of attacking shots.

Afghanistan were off to a characteristically solid start, courtesy of Ibrahim Zadran and Rahmanullah Gurbaz. The batsmen didn't give many chances to Australia, and maintained a healthy run rate.

Australia found the breakthrough when Gurbaz played an unusually aggressive shot off Josh Hazlewood and gifted a catch to Mitchell Starc.

The third-wicket stand between Zadran and Rahmat Shah kept the runs flowing. While Zadran took on the loose deliveries offered to him, Rahmat got his eye in before picking up the pace.

Photo courtesy: UNIPhoto courtesy: UNI

However, one aggressive shot too many, got the better of Rahmat. The batsman played an inside out shot off Maxwell but didn't make the best of connections. He ended up holding out to Hazlewood in the deep.

Afghanistan played safe after the middle over mark, adding runs at a rate of 4.3 between 26-35. Mitchell Starc brought forth the next big act in the game, shattering the stumps of Shahidi.

Azmatullah Omarzai's arrival at the crease gave the Asian side a much needed boost, as the youngster unleashed a number of attractive shots.

His big hitting eventually became his undoing as the batter was caught at long-off off the bowling of Adam Zampa in the 43rd over. Ibrahim eventually reached his hundred in the 44th over, a first for Afghanistan in a Cricket World Cup. He picked up his pace thereafter.

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Cameos from Mohammed Nabi (12 from 10) and Rashid Khan (35* from 18) helped Afghanistan finish strong.

At the toss, Shahidi called it right and chose to bat first. For the Asian side, Naveen-ul-Haq returned to replace Fazalhaq Farooqi.

The return of Marsh and Maxwell boosted Australia. Steve Smith, however, missed out due to vertigo issues.

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