Glenn Maxwell played a knock for the ages on Tuesday as he single-handedly helped Australia chase down a challenging target against Afghanistan to take the team through to the semi-finals of the ICC World Cup 2023 in Mumbai.
Maxwell smashed his highest score in international cricket as Australia gunned down the target of 292 despite being reduced to 91 for 7 by the 19th over after fiery bowling spells from Azmatullah Omarzai, Naveen-ul-Haq and Rashid Khan early on in the second innings.
Pacers Omarzai and Naveen bagged a couple of wickets each in the first 10 overs to leave the Aussies reeling after which Rashid further dented their hopes with a two scalps of his own.
That is when Maxwell and captain Pat Cummins joined forces to first bail the team out of troubled waters before starting to take the Afghan bowling attack to the cleaners towards the death overs.
Maxwell takes Wankhede by storm
Maxwell remained unbeaten on 201 as he finished the match with a six to become the first Aussies batter to hit a double-century in ODI cricket. It is the highest score by a No.6 batter in World Cup cricket as well.
Such was a dominance of Maxwell that he scored 179 runs in an unbroken 202-run stand with Cummins making just 12 off 68 balls.
Fans go delirious after Maxi's epic on one leg
Unbelievable scenes were witnessed by the capacity crowd at the Wankhede Stadium which was initially cheering for Afghanistan but then turned their loyalties towards Maxwell, who many would say was the greatest innings ever played in one-day international cricket as he was standing on one leg and smashing boundaries at will.
Maxwell was struggling with cramps and needed medical attention multiple times. He could not run after one point so he resorted to hitting sixes on one leg.
Maxwell double ton overshadows Zadran's 129*
At the end of his whirlwind knock, Maxwell finished with 21 fours and 10 sixes from the 128 balls he faced in the chase.
Cummins managed just one four but didn't need to do anything else as he just kept watching Maxwell smash the bowlers from the non-striker's end.
Maxwell's knock overshadowed a brilliant century from Ibrahim Zadran, who became the first Afghanistan batter to score a World Cup century.
Zadran smashed 129 not out off 143 balls with 8 fours and three sixes to help the Afghans post 291 for 5 on the board after they won the toss and elected to bat first.
Maxwell left speechless after freak knock
"It was hot while fielding today, I haven't done a lot of exercise in the heat, it got a hold on me today. I wanted to stay back and get some movement (on my legs). Not too much (when asked about plans at 92/7), just stick to the batting plans as much as possible, for me, still be positive, still look to play my shots.
"It would have been nice if it was a chanceless knock, but I had my chances, to make the most of it tonight was something I can be proud of," Maxwell said after being adjudged Player of the Match.