Mujeeb, positioned at short fine leg, let slip a straightforward opportunity off Noor Ahmed, granting Maxwell a lifeline when he was at 33.This moment, etched in memory, proved pivotal as Australia, struggling at 91 for seven, witnessed Maxwell’s sensational batting display, guiding them to a remarkable three-wicket victory.”I thought it might cost him another 30 (runs) or so. I do not feel any sympathy for him because I feel like I have done that a lot of times, where I have (been) given chances and have not made the most of it,” Maxwell said on the podcast ‘Club Prairie Fire’, also featuring former England captain Michael Vaughan and Australian great Adam Gilchrist.
“For the first time, in probably a long time, I have actually made the most of a chance and gone on with it. I have always said like, ‘watch the opposition teams they have got hundreds after we have dropped a couple of chances’,” he said.
“Batting is easy when you get a couple of chances isn’t it – I sort of had that, a couple of things going my way,” said Maxwell, who also got a leg-before decision overturned.
Maxwell’s extraordinary innings of 201 not out, achieved in just 128 balls with an impressive tally of 21 fours and 10 sixes, showcased his adept utilisation of experience gained from facing Asian teams.
ICC World Cup 2023: Maxwell’s double ton takes Australia to World Cup semifinals against Afghanistan
“The energy that they had in the first 15-20 overs was extraordinary and we have seen that a lot from them,” he said.
“I have played (against) a lot of sub continental teams and one thing I have always found that if you could take the sting out of the game, not by runs but by basically being there, you play one or two shots in every couple of overs and you can see how flat it starts to get.
“They start to sort of a bit of bickering, a bit of infighting, finger-pointing, arms-raising, fielders not paying attention, it sort of starts to unravel a bit and I have been in teams where I have seen that happen as well,” he said.
Maxwell added a record 202-run for the unbeaten eight-wicket stand with Australia captain Pat Cummins, who faced 68 balls for only 12 runs but remained a rock in terms of support.
“This goes without saying but Pat is such a brilliant person to have as your leader. The way he treats his players as a whole, I think, that was all coming out in the last game,” Maxwell said.
“The way he dealt with me, the way he spoke with me was literally two guys having a beer at a pub, talking about a game they are watching on TV, laughing and joking,” he said.
Battling the heat and humidity, Maxwell played more than a hundred balls for the first time in his ODI career and suffered immensely with cramps all over his body.
He joked that when he fell on the ground, with more than 50 runs still needed, he got reminded of the famous incident involving New Zealand’s Mark Richardson.
“The first thing I thought about was Mark Richardson going down with cramps. I was like, ‘I am going to be in that bracket’. At least you could not hear my screams over the stump mic – the echo in the annals of cricket.
“A few boys said ‘you looked absolutely done when you were on the ground’. Zamps (Adam Zampa) was obviously stressing, coming up and down the stairs the whole time. He was actually more tired than anyone – thank goodness it was not Ahmedabad (or else) he would have been absolutely cooked,” Maxwell added.
Maxwell’s masterclass at the Wankhede Stadium is being hailed as the ‘greatest ODI innings yet’ by many. While debates will rage on the topic for the time to come, Maxwell provided insights into how he took down an on-song Afghanistan bowling attack.
“Once I get in, I feel if I set myself early enough in mind and sort of get a good idea about where I am trying to hit I feel my hands can get me out of trouble if the ball is not quite in the area. I do give myself a few options for different lengths,” he said.
“I will use Mujeeb as an example. Early on in my innings, all I did was play one reverse sweep to Noor Ahmed to make sure the deep backward point was a little bit finer. I know they would have to have the mid off up at some stage,” he said.
“With that, I have got a gap on either side of mid off, cover and over the top. As soon as I get (the ball) wide outside the off, I can use my hands to find gaps so I set myself up for every ball. I am setting up to hit in those boundary gaps and then adjusting with my hands as late as humanly possible to get to the other end,” Maxwell said.
(With PTI Inputs)