Glenn Maxwell hit an astonishing unbeaten 201 (128 balls with 21 fours and 10 sixes), as Australia clinched a thrilling three-wicket victory over Afghanistan in their Cricket World Cup match played at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai yesterday.
All-rounder Maxwell entered the crease at number six and exhibited his experience and skill to anchor the innings.
The situation for the Aussies seemed dire when they found themselves at 91 for 7 wickets in just 18.3 overs while chasing a target of 292.
Maxwell, the right-hander, stepped up to take charge. He received valuable support from Pat Cummins, who played a crucial role in building an unbroken 202-run partnership. This partnership, which became the new 8th wicket ODI record, saw Cummins score 12 runs off 68 balls with a four.
Despite battling cramps, Maxwell demonstrated remarkable resilience and skill, playing shots all around the ground.
His heroic six over the mid-wicket region, off-spinner Mujeeb Ur Rehman, sealed their victory with 19 balls to spare. Maxwell’s career-best ODI innings earned him the well-deserved Man of the Match award.
With this victory, Australia secured their spot in the semi-finals with 12 points, claiming the third position, Meanwhile, India and South Africa had already booked their places in the semi-finals. However, New Zealand, Pakistan, and Afghanistan continue to vie for the remaining semi-final spot.
Afghanistan’s decision to bat first aimed to capitalize on the favourable conditions in the first half of the game. However, their opening pair, Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Ibrahim Zadran, struggled to establish a solid start.
Gurbaz was the first to depart, scoring 21 runs in 25 balls with 2 fours, courtesy of an excellent breakthrough by Josh Hazlewood in the 8th over.
Rahmat Shah and Zadran built a substantial partnership of 83 runs, but Rahmat was eventually dismissed after contributing 30 runs in 44 balls with a single four.
Zadran marked a historic feat, as he became the first Afghan player to reach a World Cup hundred.
Rashid Khan, the spin all-rounder, provided an energetic display while batting at no. 7 with an unbeaten 35 runs in just 18 balls with 2 fours and 3 sixes, much to the delight of the Mumbai crowd. The paceman Joes Hazelwood stood out with 2 wickets for 39 in his 9-over spell, while leggie Adam Zampa claimed 1 wicket for 58 in his 10 overs.
England will face Netherlands today in their World Cup game at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Pune.
Afghanistan 291 for 5 wickets in 50 overs (Rahmanullah Gurbaz 21, Ibrahim Zadran 129, Rahmat Shah 30, Hasthamullah Shahidi 26, Azmatullah Omarzai 22, Mohammed Nabi 12, Rashid Khan 35*, Joes Hazelwood 2/ 39)
Australia 293 for 7 in 46.3 overs (David Warner 18, Mitchell Marsh 24, Marnus Labuschagne 14, Glenn Maxwell 201*, Pat Cummins 12*, Naveen Ul Haq 2/47, Azmatullah Omarzai 2/52, Rashid Khan 2/44)
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