ISLAMABAD (News Desk): Australia’s Maxwell played fantastic inning of 201 runs and snatched a visible win from inexperienced but talented Afghanistan Cricket Team in Mumbai Cricket Stadium.
This win gave another hope to Pakistan fans that to green shirts still alive for qualifying in semi final of the World Cup, whoever, the Afghans have little hope to qualify the in top fours.
Australia won the match by thee wickets after chasing 292 runs against Afghanistan mainly due an astonishing double century from Glenn Maxwell (201*). His outstanding performance helped Australia for qualifying for the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup semi-finals.
He was suffering cramps in the latter stages of his innings and fought his way through to stay at the crease. His double-ton was the highest individual score in a Cricket World Cup chase.
in the first innings, a splendid century for Ibrahim Zadran (129*), sturdy knocks from the middle-order batters, and a hefty charge by the lower-order helped Afghanistan get to their highest Cricket World Cup score.
Defending 292, Afghanistan made early inroads, starting with Naveen-ul-Haq struck in the very first over who got Travis Head to nick one behind the wicket on just four runs.
Mitchell Marsh attacked to pick up the scoring rate, but was eventually undone by a brilliant Naveen delivery, which trapped the Aussie all-rounder in front of the stumps.
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 Glenn Maxwell. The duo added 20 runs for the fifth wicket before Labuschagne was run out by a splendid effort by Rahmat Shah.
Rashid Khan arrived in the 15th over and took no time to get into the act. His two wickets supplemented the early damage and saw to it that Australia’s innings sunk even further.
Maxwell then lifted the pace of the innings, with a set of attacking shots. Taking on the Afghanistan spinners, he smashed 10 fours and three sixes on the way to his century. Almost single-handedly, he took Australia from 98/7 at the end of the 20-over mark, to 194/7 at the end of the 34th.
Maxwell’s brilliant knock took the shape of a heroic feat when the batter fought on despite seriously cramping up. 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 his side within hitting distance of a famous win.
He found great support in Australia skipper Pat Cummins, who scored a Test-like 12 off 68 balls, which was the need of the hour. A flurry of big hits helped Australia finish the game in the 47th over.
Earlier in the day, Afghanistan were off to a solid start, courtesy of Ibrahim Zadran and Rahmanullah Gurbaz. The batters 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.
However, one aggressive shot too many got the better of Rahmat. The batter played an inside-out shot off Glenn Maxwell but didn’t make the best of connections. He ended up holing 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.
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 Mitchell Marsh and Glenn Maxwell boosted Australia. Steve Smith, however, missed out due to vertigo issues.
Australia: Travis Head, David Warner, Mitch Marsh, Marnus Labuschagne, Josh Inglis (wk), Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Pat Cummins (c), Mitchell Starc, Adam Zampa, Josh Hazlewood
Afghanistan squad: Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Ibrahim Zadran, Rahmat Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi (c), Azmatullah Omarzai, Mohammad Nabi, Ikram Alikhil (wk), Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Naveen-ul-Haq, Noor Ahmad