Glenn Maxwell smacked a stunning double-century on Tuesday night as Australia downed Afghanistan to book a spot in the 2023 Cricket World Cup semifinals.
The Victorian allrounder’s match-winning 201 not out off 128 balls saved what was an otherwise worrying batting display from the Aussies.
Afghanistan batted first and managed to get to 5/291, with opener Ibrahim Zadran hitting an impressive 129 – his nation’s first century in World Cup play.
Josh Hazlewood was the pick of the bowlers with 2/39, while Mitchell Starc’s figures of 0/77 from nine overs will have selectors considering their options.
Australia’s chase got off to a poor start as Travis Head fell to Naveed-ul-Haq for a second-ball duck.
David Warner and Mitchell Marsh steadied the ship somewhat, but once the latter was dismissed in the sixth over, the wheels started to come off.
When Maxwell strode to the crease in the ninth over, Australia were 4/49 having lost Warner and Josh Inglis in the space of two balls.
When captain Pat Cummins joined him 10 overs later, the score was 7/91 and a shock defeat was on the cards.
However, that was as good as it got for the Afghanis.
Maxwell and Cummins proceeded to put on an unbeaten 202-run stand, with the former contributing some 179 of those as the Aussies got home with three wickets and 19 balls to spare.
Maxwell finished with 21 fours and 10 sixes in what has been dubbed one of the greatest one-day cricket innings of all-time.
The performance continues a stunning burst of form for the 35-year-old, who broke the record for the fastest Cricket World Cup century with his 106 from 44 balls against the Netherlands on October 25.
It also marks an incredible return to the starting XI, as Maxwell was stood down with concussion for Australia’s recent win over England after falling off a golf cart.
With their spot in the last four now sorted, Australia will close out the round-robin phase as -769.23 favourites against Bangladesh on Saturday.
Top cricket bookmakers are paying +625 for Maxwell to finish as the team’s top scorer in that clash, with he is pegged at +750 to be named man of the match.
Despite the win over Afghanistan, the Aussies have drifted to +333 in Cricket World Cup outright betting, with India firming to -138.89 to claim the title.
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