“I shattered my fibula. So that one I think was the first snap I heard. It was snapped in half, but it also shattered through the bone. There was a bit of a chip off the tibia as well [and] I ruptured all the ligaments on top of my foot as well…the syndesmosis ligaments, they’re all ruptured. I did a good job of it for such an innocuous thing.”
That was Glenn Maxwell on November 19, 2022. He could not even walk after that innocuous accident at a friend’s birthday party.
On November 7, 2023, less than a year later, this happened. He played the greatest ODI innings of all time (No arguments there, please) to bring his team home against Afghanistan in an incredible chase.
201 Not Out (128 balls) in a chase of 291 runs. He came in when his team was down at 49/4 and probably was ready to throw the kitchen sink when the score read 91/7 at one point. What happened in then next couple of hours was truly incredible to watch. The kind of innings that makes you fall in love with cricket again and again.
I am glad I chose to watch this innings live today at the cost of delaying a few work related tasks.
First, let us put his score of 201 in perspective:
- Maxwell is the first player to score a 200 in a ODI run chase.
- All 10 previous ODI 200s have been by openers.
- Maxwell is the first non-opener to score an ODI double ton. And where did he bat? He came in at no. 6.
Read the above again to understand how enormous of a feat it is!! A record that will stay with him for a while before someone breaks it.
Afghanistan vs Australia, World Cup 2023 clash at Wankhede (Nov 7, 2023)
An exhilarating rollercoaster ride that shall now be etched in the annals of cricketing history, and boy, what a fun ride it was!
Afghanistan were having a dream run at this world cup, surprising many.
So, prior to the match, I, like many others, was quietly rooting for Afghanistan, while quietly acknowledging that the odds of them toppling the mighty Aussies at Wankhede were, well, as slim as a cricket stump. Then came the toss, and a glimmer of hope flickered —I thought, what if Afghanistan could muster a respectable 270–280, they might at least give Australia a run for their kangaroos.
But as the Afghan innings unfolded and they notched up a surprising 291, thanks to Ibrahim Zadran and some late gush by Rashid Khan, it became evident that we were in for an epic showdown. That’s when I decided I should take my morning a bit easy at work today and try to catch this Australian chase live. Something about intuitions. I should trust them more often.
David Warner and Travis Head were striding in during the Powerplay, it was clear that their performance would be pivotal.
Naveen-ul-Haq skillfully dismissed Head and Shaun Marsh, and swiftly, the tables turned in favor of Afghanistan. The ever-impressive Azmatullah Omarzai sent David Warner and Josh Inglis packing soon after. Australians were suddenly at 49–4, setting the stage for an unforgettable contest.
Just when I thought Marnus Labuschagne would anchor himself in for that perfect his-kinda-situation, a silly run-out brought him down. And then Rashid Khan’s scalping of Marcus Stoinis and Mitchell Starc left the Australian scorecard reading 91–7.
Ecstasy washed over us — me; I was already drafting the opening lines of my piece on Afghanistan’s monumental world cup triumph and their semifinal spot.
We have witnessed many one-sided matches in this world cup edition that I wouldn’t have blamed you if you did not bother to follow the match after this point. Most would have believed that Afghanistan had this match wrapped by then and it was a question of how much NRR gain they could get out of this match. But I stuck around. Something told me, someone, to be specific, Maxwell, was bringing his madness to the center stage today.
The tension reached its peak at 101–7 when Noor Ahmad trapped Glenn Maxwell leg before wicket. Maxwell initially began his walk back to the pavilion, but a dramatic review saw him stay put, keeping Australia’s hopes flickering. The ball tracker showed the ball missing the top of the wickets by a couple of inches. Maxwell shook his head in disbelief and thanked his lucky stars.
But wait, there’s more!
When Maxwell skewed one up between short cover and mid-off, there was some confusion between Rashid and Shahidi as to who would go after the catch, and with neither going near the ball in the end, Maxwell must have started believing today could be his day.
But wait, there’s even more!
At 113–7, Mujeeb Ur Rahman dropped a regulation catch at short fine leg-gish position, gifting Maxwell another chance. Yet, the scales were still tipped in favor of Afghanistan. The madness slowly started to creep in. Even with Maxwell beginning to score at will, I don’t think the Australian dressing room really believed at this point that the madness would take them all the way to the end.
As Maxwell reached 186 not out off 33 overs, as much as my instincts grudgingly told me he was going to do it, my admiration for his Herculean effort only grew nevertheless, but I was fervently hoping for a breakthrough that would swing the match in Afghanistan’s favor again.
Maxwell reached his century, then his 150, but his legs began to cramp, and he could hardly stand. Despite the physical agony, his sheer determination kept him at the crease.
Enter Pat Cummins, who played a supporting role of absolute perfection, showcasing his cricketing and leadership prowess, which even had the Afghan supporters applauding. He was making sure Maxwell got a few breaks between balls by patiently paddling them without pushing for quick runs. He kept talking to Maxwell to give him the mental support he needed.
With 60 runs required off 60 balls, Maxwell’s body seemed to betray him. He collapsed on the ground and needed some quick medical attention. At that moment, Maxwell was nothing more than a pair of powerful arms in control, a pair of sharp eyes, and a blob of flesh.
But a remarkable transformation occurred in me — from supporting Afghanistan, I found myself cheering for Maxwell and Australia. It was a ‘do or die’ moment, and you couldn’t help but root for the mad man, his team, and the fury road they were taking.
Maxwell’s incredible innings continued, taking him past 175.
With 26 runs needed for victory, a question arose: could he reach 200? Would he dare attempt it? Could Cummins contribute enough to make that happen?
The answer was a resounding ‘yes’ to all of the questions above.
In a breathtaking display of power, perseverance, pain, and precision, Maxwell blazed his way to an astonishing 201 not out off 128 balls, crafting inarguably the greatest One Day International innings of all time. The last four scoring shots were 6–6–4–6.
And just like that, the transformation was complete. The ecstasy that followed Maxwell’s extraordinary knock culminated in a thrilling Australian victory.
Pat Cummins ended up scoring 12 Not Out of 68 balls with a SR of 17.64. He came into bat when the score was 91–7 and when the required rate was 8 an over in a run case. By contributing 12 runs in a partnership of 202 runs, Cummins just played the greatest supporting act in an ODI run chase of all time.
It is now my privilege to say I was alive and saw the greatest ODI innings of all time..live.
Oh, what an absolute rollercoaster of emotions it was.
Thank you, Maxwell, for the mad ride on the fury road.
Cricket, you beauty!