Chasing 292, Australia were reduced to 92/7. However, that was just the compounding of the rubble that started formulating way back. When Glenn Maxwell walked out to bat, they were already caught in a brewing storm as four of their top-order batters were back in the hut.
The agony for the Roos didn’t really stop there as they lost three more wickets in the form of Marcus Stoinis, Mitchell Starc and Marnus Labuschagne with Maxi rooted at the other end and Australia embarked upon an odyssey to madness.
The rebuilding started slowly and steadily with the skipper, Pat Cummins being a completely different version of the hard-hitting bowling all-rounder that we are aware of. Glenn Maxwell though was just taking some time to instill a belief of a remarkable feat for the Afghans that they were in for an absolute treat only to shatter that into pieces later.
Till that half-century mark that came on the back of a boundary against Noor Ahmad, Glenn Maxwell seemed to score at a modest pace with no intentions of showcasing that monster that was about to be unleashed on the upbeat Afghans.
Come Mujeeb in the 27th over and the Show came out all guns blazing, as the carnage started with a shot through the covers, drilled flat and hard. Noor Ahmad was the next in line to receive some serious whiplashing from the all-rounder as he was rocked for two back-to-back sixes, with the first one launched over deep mid-wicket while the second floating over the long-on fence.
Once the tap was on, it never really looked like Afghanistan could do much good to their aspirations as Pat Cummins played one of the most defiant anchoring knocks that could have ever been played. Maxi had a couple of lifelines though as Australia couldn’t latch onto the chances that were gifted almost on a silver platter for them.
In the 41st over, things turned worse for the big man as he went down, completely flat, caught in a full-body cramp and he needed immediate medical attention. With Adam Zampa circling the ropes, fully geared up, beating all possible odds and medical challenges, he got back up like the Undertaker from the dead and chose to continue that herculean knock of his.
All it took him to get back to groove was another over and he was once again peppering the bowlers to every single nook and cranny of the park as Azmatullah simply stayed witness to the utter onslaught against him carved by the Show.
With five away from his double century and five runs to win the match as well, Maxi launched Mujeeb ur Rehman over deep mid-wicket to register the third double-century in the history of ODI World Cup as Australia crossed the line with three wickets to spare.
So why is this knock special? Why is this being called as the best knock of all time? The answer lies in the resistance that was forged by Glenn Maxwell. When he came out to bat his team had lost seven wickets and no team, no matter how big or small, dares to even dream of scoring 200 runs for the 8th wicket stand under such impossible situation.
Secondly, a full body spasm is never really easy to brave. Forget a full-body spasm. Even one muscle spasm can send you to the ground. If you remember KL Rahul had to sit out for one whole match in the Asia Cup before he can finally get in the groove. Maxwell went onto bat from thereon.
Thirdly, the belief in his shots were absolutely crazy. Where people felt that his inability to run given the fact that he had almost limp in one of hi foot was overrun by the sheer magnitude of those monstrous hits which were peppered out of the park with utmost prejudice.
Finally, the ability to take ownership. When Cummins arrived, he told him to hold one end and he will do the rest. He had a bit of luck going his way but how you can make it count that comes from the man himself. So when he started playing those classic hits, he ensured that it is he himself who gets the job done for Australia. Come hell or high waters and he nailed the show with absolute brilliance.
People may still argue that this may not be the best ODI knocks of all time but truth be told, we all know what Maxi pulled off at Wankhede ranks right at the top in ODI cricket and there are no second thoughts about this. We at Cricket Lounge congratulate Maxi for such a knock which knows no end.