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Williamson lauds Maxwell's 'incredibly special' innings

By AFP

November 8, 2023 03:57 PM


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New Zealand captain Kane Williamson on Wednesday praised "an incredibly special knock" by Australia's Glenn Maxwell which took his team into the World Cup semi-finals.

Maxwell played through pain including cramps and back spasms to hit an unbeaten 201 as Australia chased down their victory target of 292 after tottering at 91-7.

Maxwell put on 202 for the eighth wicket with skipper Pat Cummins, who made just 12, to leave Afghanistan in shock in Mumbai on Tuesday.

"An incredibly special knock," Williamson told reporters on the eve of their match against Sri Lanka in Bengaluru on Thursday.

"Not just the runs specifically but the situation. He was clearly struggling physically and to be able to pull that off and in a partnership with Pat Cummins is without a doubt one of the great World Cup victories for Australia and probably for any team to witness."

Afghanistan's Ibrahim Zadran struck an unbeaten 129 to become the first player from his country to hit a World Cup century in his team's 291-5.

The bowlers then had Australia on the ropes before Maxwell single-handedly took the match away from the Afghans.

"At the same time, a tough one for Afghanistan. They've been excellent and probably won sort of 80-90 percent of that game," said Williamson.

"As we know in white ball cricket, it can change quickly. And that was an amazing example of that and a special knock to watch."

New Zealand are locked in a three-way battle with Pakistan and Afghanistan for the last remaining place in the semi-finals.

They are currently fourth in the table behind already qualified India, South Africa and Australia.

Five things about Glenn Maxwell

Glenn Maxwell on Wednesday was the toast of the cricket world a day after his unbeaten 201 powered Australia into the World Cup semi-finals with a thrilling win over Afghanistan.

The swashbuckling batsman lifted his team from 91-7 in their chase of 292 in Mumbai to achieve victory with 19 balls to spare as he overcame cramps and back spasms in an epic knock which has been described as the greatest ODI innings of all time.

AFP Sport takes a look at five things about Glenn Maxwell.

- Unconventional batting -

Known as "Mad Max" and "The Big Show" for his attacking batting and unconventional strokeplay, Maxwell mesmerised the crowd at the Wankhede Stadium with his 128-run blitz laced with 21 fours and 10 sixes.

He swept, reverse swept, flicked and smashed his way to his first-ever international double ton, the first by an Australian batsman and first men's ODI 200 in a run-chase.

He overcame "full body pain" in the marathon knock to demolish the Afghanistan bowling as he hit Mujeeb Ur Rahman for two sixes, a four and another hit over the fence to raise his 200 and victory for Australia.

Broadcasters Star Sports wrote GLENN 'SUPERMAN' MAXWELL! on social media 'X', formerly Twitter.

Earlier in the tournament Maxwell blasted the fastest hundred in World Cup history off just 40 balls in a 309-run demolition of the Netherlands in New Delhi.

- Accident prone -

An accident prone Maxwell recently fell off a golf buggy to suffer concussion and miss Australia's match against rivals England.

The fall was not the first for the 35-year-old who suffered a freak accident during a friend's birthday party last year and his leg "snapped in half".

He underwent surgery and a metal plate was inserted in his left leg.

In September, Maxwell felt soreness in the ankle of that same broken leg and was forced to miss a T20 series in South Africa.

After his fastest World Cup ton last month, Maxwell said he had "dark thoughts" over his participation in the World Cup.

- Family man -

Maxwell has a soft family side to him.

Maxwell married his long-time girlfriend Vini Raman of Indian-origin in March last year in Australia and then completed the union a week later in a Hindu ceremony in India.

The couple became parents to a baby boy in September and they named him Logan Maverick Maxwell.

Maxwell recently spoke about his "sleepless night" after being joined by his family ahead of the game against the Dutch where he hit his record century.

On Tuesday, Maxwell spoke about getting back to being a father after the energy-sapping game.

"Pretty overwhelmed with all the (love) Thank you so much to everyone that has sent messages," he wrote on 'X'. "Time to get back to dad duties."

- Battling depression -

"I tried to fake everything I did," Maxwell said about his battle with depression in 2019.

Maxwell left Australia's Twenty20 squad in October 2019 during a series against Sri Lanka and the move was backed by his team and support staff.

Cricket Australia said he was a "special player", while India's Virat Kohli lauded Maxwell for putting his health before the game.

A mentally exhausted Maxwell claimed he even wanted his arm to be broken during Australia's World Cup campaign in 2019 so he could have a rest from international cricket.

He returned to captain Melbourne Stars in December 2019 and was named in the Big Bash League's team of the tournament.

- Franchise favourite -

Maxwell has played league cricket in Australia, England and India and remains a popular T20 buy with his all-round skills including off-spin bowling and excellent fielding.

His ability to take on any bowling attack makes him a dangerous white-ball batsman who has made an impression for Melbourne in the Big Bash and most recently Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL.

Dubbed the "darling of IPL auction" by an Indian newspaper, Maxwell was bought for $1 million by Mumbai Indians in the 2013 auction and then Bangalore for $1.7 million in 2021.

He lived up to the price tag and finished with 513 runs in the 2021 edition including six half-centuries at a strike rate of over 144.

In England, Maxwell has played for Hampshire, Surrey, Yorkshire, Lancashire and  Warwickshire in the T20 Blast and for London Spirit in The Hundred.


AFP


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