After Australia slumped to 91/7 in the 19th over, Glenn Maxwell told skipper Pat Cummins, who came into bat, should hang in around for a few overs to get the fightback going against Afghanistan at the Wankhede Stadium here on Tuesday.
Surely and painstakingly, Maxwell, who was adjudged the Player of the Match, and Cummins dragged Australia back into the game, capitalising on every chance that came their way. Unable to move with severe cramps setting in, Maxwell again told Cummins that they should stay at the end where they were for a little bit until he could get some movement back.
Treated by the Australian physio, Maxwell played one of the greatest One-day innings, hitting an unbeaten 201 off 128 balls and raising 202 runs for the unfinished 8th wicket partnership as Australia reached 293/7 in 46.5 overs, chasing Afghanistan's 291/5 in 50 overs.
As the five-time champions slumped to 91/7, Maxwell, who came back into the side after missing a match due to a concussion suffered in a golf cart injury, said he only wanted to be positive in his approach."It was quite hot when we were fielding today.
I haven't really done a whole lot of high-intensity exercise in the heat and it certainly got a hold of me today and just luckily enough we came out with a plan to stay at the same end for a little bit until I could sort of get some movement back, luckily enough
I was able to stay till the end," Maxwell said during the post-match presentation after leading Australia to a three-wicket win against Afghanistan and confirming a semifinal berth for them.The five-time champions Australia will face South Africa in the second semifinal to be played at the Eden Gardens on November 16.
He said the plan was to stay positive stick to the batting plan and go after the bowling to force mistakes."It was basically to stick to our batting plan. I suppose for me it was still trying to be positive, still trying to take them on and trying to produce bad balls or something else I could score off," Maxwell said.
Maxwell said the lbw appeal he survived on DRS was the trigger for him to go after the bowling "that was probably the kick-start I needed to sort of tell myself to start playing my shots and be a bit more proactive. The middle-order batter said the pitch offered a little bit more swing and movement under lights, which made things difficult for his team.
"I think you obviously saw a little bit more swing and nip around under lights," he said.He gave credit to the Afghanistan bowlers for taking early wickets and putting Australia under pressure., something the Australian bowlers could not do earlier in the day.
"Credit to them, they bowled absolutely beautifully upfront and put us on the back foot. What we struggled to do was take early wickets and put them under pressure, but credit to them, they bowled well upfront," he said.
Maxwell said his team, who were being written off after losing its first two matches to India and South Africa in the World Cup, has surprised many by winning six matches in a row."I think after the first two games everyone was pretty quick to write us off and to come back and win six straight now is a great effort from this group," said Maxwell.
Australia, who confirmed the third place in the standings with 12 points, have one more match to play in the World Cup, against Bangladesh at the MCA International Stadium, Pune, on November 11. But that is a mere formality now because the chasing pack can only reach 10 points, thus fighting for the fourth semifinal spot.