Latest Match Report – Afghanistan vs Australia 39th Match 2023/24

Australia 293 for 7 (Maxwell 201*, Rashid 2-44). Afghanistan 291 for 5 (Ibrahim 129*, Rashid 35*, Hazlewood 2-39) by three wickets

At one point, Australia were 91 for 7 chasing 292. Then Glenn Maxwell Glenn Maxwelled his way to a double-century and not only won the match, they also sealed their place in the semi finals of the World Cup.
After Ibrahim Zadran scored Afghanistan’s first century at the World Cup, Naveen-ul-Haq and Azmatullah Omarzai tore through Australia’s top order as they threatened to script a famous victory at the Wankhede. But Maxwell stepped in with 201 not out, 179 of which came in an unbroken 202-run partnership with his captain Pat Cummins, to change the script. This result confirmed Australia’s place in the final four, along with hosts India, South Africa, and left Afghanistan devastated.

The chase wasn’t the only thing that got tougher towards the end. Maxwell, having bowled 50 overs in the heat in Mumbai, began to struggle badly. It was his legs. They just stopped working. He looked in excruciating pain in the 41st over, prompting the next batsman, number 10, Adam Zampa to wait by the boundary while the physio prepared him to continue.

He left and left. Batting without moving his feet, Maxwell kept hitting sixes until he brought home the Australian wonder. Unbeaten double hundred and one off 128 balls with 21 fours and 10 sixes. It was one of the greatest ODI innings of all time.

Maxwell came in to face Omarzai’s hat-trick in the 9th over, when Australia were 49 for 4 chasing 292. He was then involved in a mix-up, which cost Australia the wicket of Marnus Labuschagne for 14 runs. Stoinis and Mitchell Starc fell soon after, leaving Australia at 91 for 7, the game seemingly over. Except it wasn’t. Maxwell moved on and Cummins stuck to him like a limpet, conceding just 12 runs (from 68 balls) in the double century partnership.

21 needed from the last four overs for Australia to win and Maxwell’s double hundred, he came out 6,6,4,6 against Mujeeb Ur Rahman to deliver the coup de grace twice.

Mujeeb could have ended Maxwell’s innings at 33 if he had not dismissed the sitter with a penalty at short. Maxwell then went off doing his Maxwell thing. Noor Ahmad cut over the midwife. He shook Mujeeb on his head and moved Mohammed Nabi over to the midwife with him. The reverse-sweep and other tactical shots also featured in Mumbai as they rose to a century in 76 balls. He then needed just 52 balls for his second century. On the other hand, Cummins defended strongly. That was all he had to do.

Rashid Khan was the only bowler from Afghanistan to escape the one-man team that was Maxwell. Afghanistan opted for four spinners in the match, but it was Naveen and Omarzai who did the most damage in Australia’s chase. They bowled Test-match lines and lengths, and swung the new ball both ways, under the lights. Naveen first removed Travis Head with an outswinger before pinning Mitchell Marsh lbw with an inswinger. Naveen would not have also dismissed David Warner for 4 had Rahmat Shah not dropped a difficult chance at gully. Warner added 14 to his tally before Omarzai cleared his stumps with an inswinger.

Omarzai is only 23 and playing his 20th ODI, but he is so talented that he can build on Warner’s dismissal. After beating a tough lady and throwing a girl at Warner, he just went full and attacked his defenses. After mastering the powerplay during his Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) debut earlier this year, Omarzai has shown the world that he can do the job in international cricket as well. The next ball was Josh Inglis, who went to first slip. The next ball was another outswinger, but Maxwell denied Omarzai a hat-trick and the rest is now history.

After completing three successful chases in a row, Afghanistan may be tempted to do the same on Tuesday. But Hashmatullah Shahidi resisted that and backed his batsmen to put runs on the board on the unusual Wankhede track, which was on the dry side. Ibrahim led the way and scored an innings on a hot afternoon for an unbeaten 129 off 143 balls. The highlight of his innings was Cummins’ four in the 14th over. Later in the slog overs, he and Rashid, who scored an unbeaten 35 off 18 balls, attacked Australia. Ibrahim and Rashid combined for 58 off just 27 balls to lift Afghanistan to 291, but their joy turned to disbelief and helplessness on the night.