Days after WC stunner, AUS' crisis man strikes again as IND face Maxwell's wrath | Cricket - Hindustan Times

Days after World Cup stunner, Australia's crisis man strikes again as India face Glenn Maxwell's wrath

Nov 29, 2023 06:14 AM IST

In a space of just 21 days, Australia's crisis man has struck again, playing yet another knock of a lifetime, this time in a T20I against India.

In a space of just 21 days, Australia's crisis man has struck again, playing yet another knock of a lifetime to rescue a dead chase out of nowhere in another battle for survival, this time pulling off the stunner in a T20I series against India in Guwahati. On the night of November 8 in Wankhede, Glenn Maxwell scored a historic 201* against Afghanistan to escape a humiliating ODI World Cup loss and stay afloat in the race for the semis. Three weeks later, as Australia looked to keep the five-match T20I series alive against India, Maxwell rose to the occasion yet again to pull off a mighty chase of 223 with a record quick century.

Australia's Glenn Maxwell gestures during the third Twenty20 international cricket match between India and Australia at the Assam Cricket Association Stadium in Guwahati (AFP)
Australia's Glenn Maxwell gestures during the third Twenty20 international cricket match between India and Australia at the Assam Cricket Association Stadium in Guwahati (AFP)

India were win away from sealing the contest against the recently-crowned ODI champions. In a series where the hosts have only one of their white-ball regulars in their XI with the remainder on a leave post the World Cup, India managed to beat Australia in Visakhapatnam and Thiruvananthapuram in comprehensive fashion to gain an early 2-0 lead, and they certainly remained in course for a third consecutive victory as well after Australia were reduced to 134 for five in the 14th over chasing 223.

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Maxwell was responsible in India ending up with another 200-plus total after he leaked 30 runs in the final over where Ruturaj Gaikwad smashed him for three sixes and two fours en route to his unbeaten knock of 123 runs off 57 balls. He became the 9th Indian batter to score a ton and fell just four runs short of scripting the record for the highest individual score by an Indian. But Maxwell, who became the Australian bowler to concede most runs in a single over of a T20I game, covered it up with yet another knock of greatness.

Well, you can't simply compare the two aforementioned knocks of Maxwell given the circumstances in which he had pulled off that double century against Afghanistan. Having walked in at 49 for 4 in the chase of 294 at Wankhede, Maxwell had survived an LBW scare in the very first ball where Azmatullah Omarzai was on a hat-trick. A bizarre run out and Rashid Khan twin strikes further crumbled Australia to 92 for seven as the former World Cup winners were staring at an embarrassing loss. With the tail exposed, Maxwell was all alone in his act, en route to which he battled severe cramps as well, before successfully chasing down the remainder with a magnificent 201*, a win that sealed their semi-final berth. But Tuesday night at Barsapara Stadium was equally special.

On the face of a monumental target, Australia kicked off their chase aggressively and even until the 13th over, they were in the hunt with 128 for three. But the successive dismissals of Marcus Stoinis and Tim David left Australia in hard water. It was all down to Australia's final batting hopes in Maxwell and Matthew Wade to get the job done.

Shortly after Wade arrived at the crease, Maxwell completed his half-century in typical fashion and kept his scoring rate in tact as he attacked Arshdeep Singh for a six before taking down Avesh Khan for a six and a four and the hitting two maximums against the left armer again. However, Prasidh Krishna - who eventually ended the night with the record for most expensive T20I figures in a match - dished out a six-run over which left Australia with 43 to chase from 12 balls.

Unlike that night against Afghanistan, Maxwell wasn't alone on Tuesday. Wade had taken his time to settle in and with Axar Patel returning for his final over, he smashed the spinner for three boundaries and six in a 22-run 19th over that single-handedly reduced the equation to 21 off the final over. And the over-rate penalty against India made things easier for Australia heading into the last over with India having five fielders in the ring.

Wade started off the final over, against Krishna, with a boundary and single to get Maxwell on strike. With 16 needed off four remaining balls, the right-hander shuffled across to go deep into his crease against the shorter delivery for a six off his backfoot before slapping the wider ball on the next delivery through backward point for a boundary. With six more needed, Maxwell smashed back-to-back fours to seal the chase and keep Australia alive in the five-match contest with a five-wicket win.

This was the joint-fastest century scored by an Australian in a T20I game while the fourth ton in the format put him at par with India captain Rohit Sharma for the most centuries scored.

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