Cricket World Cup 2023: Maxwell powers Australia to win over Afghanistan

He scores an unbeaten double century as Aussies book semifinal berth

By Web Desk & AFP

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Australia's Glenn Maxwell. — AFP
Australia's Glenn Maxwell. — AFP

Published: Tue 7 Nov 2023, 8:48 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Nov 2023, 9:05 PM

Glenn Maxwell produced a once-in-a-lifetime knock as Australia pulled off an unbelievable victory over Afghanistan to see them through to the semifinals of the World Cup on Tuesday.

Maxwell scored a brilliant unbeaten double century (201 not out) as Australia won by 3 wickets.

Australia were down and out with Afghanistan sniffing victory after having the five-time ODI World Cup champions reeling at 91-7 in the chase of 291.

But Maxwell, who battled cramps during the fag end of the innings, pulled off the greatest of heists, throwing the kitchen sink at Afghanistan at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.

The 35-year-old Victorian came up with his career-best individual score to take Australia to an unlikely victory. Maxwell's previous best was 108.

Table toppers India and South Africa have already booked their spots in the semifinals.

Earlier, Ibrahim Zadran scored Afghanistan's first World Cup hundred as the tournament's surprise package team made 291-5.

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The 21-year-old opener's 129 not out was the cornerstone of Afghanistan's highest World Cup total, surpassing their 288 against the West Indies at Headingley in 2019.

It also left Australia facing a record chase, with the most they have made batting second to win a World Cup match their 287 against New Zealand in a 1996 quarter-final in Chennai.

Australia initially found wickets hard to come by after losing the toss in a match where a win would have guaranteed them a semifinal place.

But they largely kept Afghanistan — in semifinal contention themselves following four wins in seven matches — in check until Zadran and Rashid Khan (35 not out) shared an unbroken stand of 58 in 28 balls.

Mitchell Starc suffered, with Rashid smashing him for two sixes in the last over -- the first flying over long-off before, despite crouching down, he still hit the left-arm quick high over square leg.

Starc finished with expensive figures of 1-70 in nine overs, while new-ball partner Josh Hazlewood took 2-39 in nine.

Zadran, after reaching his century, flicked Starc high over the legside in superb style.

He then hoisted Australia captain Pat Cummins for another well-struck six as Afghanistan looked to claim another famous scalp after already defeating reigning champions England, 1992 winners Pakistan and 1996 kings Sri Lanka at this tournament.

It was not until the 25th over that Australia had Afghanistan two wickets down, with Rahmat Shah tamely chipping recalled spinner Glenn Maxwell to long-off in a tame end to a stand of 83 off 100 balls with Zadran.

In-form Afghanistan captain Hashmatullah Shahidi, trying to accelerate, was yorked for 26 by Starc before Azmatullah Omarzai made a brisk 22, including two sixes.i

Zadran completed his fifth hundred in 27 one-day internationals, off 131 balls, including seven fours, with a dicey run off Hazlewood that turned into two after a throw at the stumps was off target.

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