At 91/7, a victory for Afghanistan over Australia looked imminent in the 2023 Men’s ODI World Cup. But Glenn Maxwell had other plans smashing an astonishing 201 not out off 128 balls and single-handedly took Australia to a come-from-behind three-wicket win and cruised into the semifinals.
After the match ended, Afghanistan head coach Jonathan Trott admitted that his team should have taken their chances involving Maxwell and felt that if one drops a catch of him, then the big-hitting batter is being helped on the way to a big score.
Maxwell was given a life on 33 in the 22nd over when Mujeeb Ur Rahman dropped a sitter short fine leg off Noor Ahmad. “Well, it's a case of we got ourselves into position and should have capitalised, obviously dropped two chances, and gave a person like Maxwell a chance.”
“He's going to run with it and he almost played with a bit of freedom and almost freed him up a little bit and gave a bit of momentum back to them. I thought, it was a spectacular innings, a world-class innings. But we certainly helped him along the way,” said Trott in the post-match press conference.
At the same time, Trott believes it is a learning experience for a relatively young Afghanistan team in terms of finishing matches after giving Australia an almighty scare. “It was a real good innings. I always think could we have done a few things slightly different, bowled certain areas, different bowlers here or there.”
“Obviously, there are certain things you would like to try different now, but hindsight is a great thing. So, it's a good lesson, I think, as well for our players, because in this game, if you take your eye off the ball just a little bit and you think too far ahead and you try and start thinking other things instead of just worrying about taking the next wicket, this game can bite you pretty quickly.”
“So, I think obviously it's a disappointing loss, but I think it's an experience for a young side, developing. These sorts of things, make sure that we learn from these sorts of things. Just how cutthroat cricket is at the highest level and how you need to be on your game, not for, 70 overs, but for 100 overs,” he elaborated.
Trott also noted that when bowlers tried to do different things, Maxwell was still able to counter them and that one can’t do much on a day when a batter is in marauding mood. “He kept hitting boundaries, so, there wasn't really much singles going, so we didn't have to stop the singles. I thought Cummins played well as well, so I'm sure there's a few things maybe one or two things you could have done differently.”
“But that's cricket and there's always going to be things you want to have back. But he kept hitting them in the stands, so we can't put fielders in the stands. I wish we could have. But full credit to him, the way that he played to get a double hundred is phenomenal. He deserved to win the game; he got a double hundred.”
Afghanistan are at sixth place with eight points from as many matches and will play their final league match against South Africa in Ahmedabad on Friday. Trott signed off by hoping his team shows resilience and bounces back in the next game, citing previous examples of it in the tournament.
"We lost the New Zealand game pretty heavily and came back and won the next game. We lost the India game very heavily. Came back and beat England so there is evidence of us coming back.”"No time to muck around, we’ve got to pick ourselves up and learn from the experience.
There's some great learning points for the guys going forward. But it's a bitter pill to swallow. It would really be nice just sitting here with 10 points. But hopefully that's after the South Africa game.”