Glenn Maxwell: The Messiah, The Magician

“Generations to come will scarcely believe that such a one as this walked the earth in flesh and blood”. Albert Einstein said it about Mahatma Gandhi.

Can we say those words of wisdom about Glenn Maxwell? We are wondering.

“Brilliant” will be an understated statement of what the cricket world watched yesterday in the 39th match of ICC World Cup Tournament 2023.  An unbelievable 201 knock from Glenn Maxwell brought Australia a sensational win over Afghanistan that was almost on the verge of a victory against the most successful team in the cricket world cup.  

An upset could have happened but for Glenn Maxwell, who stood strong against the salvo and emerged as the wall and warrior for his team. And now, the cricket commentators, experts and spectators are busy making an incisive analysis of if it has been the greatest of all the great innings ever played in one day internationals.

Was it real or a fairy tale?

What on earth did all the cricket fans witness yesterday? The Australian team looked dismal and distraught against the Afghan bowling attack. The scoreboard flashed 91/7. Those, who were a little late in opening their TV sets, were rolling their eyes or pinching themselves if they had read it right. Australia was about to succumb to Afghanistan. The team from a war-ravaged country has been doing well consistently. They have played some good cricket so far in the tournament. Still, handing a defeat to Australia? Well, they almost did it. But then, Afghan bowlers proposed. Maxwell disposed!

He slowly and singlehandedly steered the match from the jaws of defeat towards the shore of victory by slamming the balls (maybe like never before) in every direction of the ground. The Afghan team put up a commendable score of 291/5. The achievable score looked like a far-away finishing line after Australia went down to 7. The knock was great not only Maxwell scored the runs under great pressure but almost throughout his innings, he suffered battling cramps so much so that at one point of time, he felt it difficult to stand on the crease.

Instead of taking singles or doubles, Maxwell focussed on piling up runs by punishing the ball wherever he could.

History was made, a hero was born!

Is it best in the international ODIs?

People are comparing Maxwell’s innings with some blasting performances from some of the greats in world cricket. Apart from personal score, the tension and pressure of the match play a huge role in such comparison. Many cricket experts agree that it is the greatest of all great innings in ODIs. No one knows whether and when such a history will be created again.

The result has become immaterial. However, for a posterior analysis, credit must be given to 21-year old Ibrahim Zardan for his wonderful hundred and some amazing bowling actions by Rashid Khan. The fact that they posted 291 against Australia speaks volume for the talents in the team.

Australia looked shaky from the very beginning. With Travis Head gone early, Mitchell Marsh took guard. He was just whacking the ball and fell soon. Maxwell walked in when Australia was down to 49/4. They lost 3 wickets in quick succession. According to the commentators, Australia had only a 0.2% chance of winning the match.

Video Credit : MIRROR NOW

Maxwell and Pat Cummins added 201 runs for the 8th wicket. Their partnership snatched the victory away from Afghans. Was it poetry or magic? Or poetic magic or magical poetry? It is hard to choose the right phrase to describe what Maxwell did yesterday at Wankhade Stadium. He hit his 50, cutting the gap down to under 150 runs. Yes, he gave some chances and was lucky enough to survive an LBW. But nothing could take away from his heroics in the match.

Then the cramp set in. He could not walk or run. Even standing on the crease was nothing short of a challenge for him. But he persisted. He sauntered to double tons by hitting 21 fours and 10 sixes. Australia won the match, with 19 balls to spare.

Final Say

People immediately started talking about Kapil Dev’s 175 against Zimbabwe in the 1983 World Cup and Sachin Tendulkar’s 98 off 75 balls against Pakistan in the 2013 World Cup. Kevin O’Brien also hit a century against England in 2011 that gave Ireland a memorable victory. And how can we forget Ben Stokes’ 84 in 2019? However, none of them fought against so many odds that Maxwell did yesterday. He did what only a hero can do in a fairy tale.

He scripted a story that is real but still feels surreal.