When Australian skipper Pat Cummins walked at 91 for 7 in a chase of 292 against Afghanistan, all he was thinking about was getting to 200 so that the net run rate would stay in a decent zone before the final match of World Cup against Bangladesh. But Glenn Maxwell had other ideas as the Australian skipper watched the “biggest ODI innings” unfold before his eyes with his partner hitting an incredible 201 off 128 balls to take his team to the semi-final of the global event.
“When I went there, I thought if we could somehow get to 200, our net run rate should be pretty good for the semi-final. When Maxi got his 100, I I kind of thought, wow, we’re at 120 or something.’ And then I kept thinking, no way,’ Cummins was honest enough to admit that he thought winning was out of the question.
“I think Maxi might be a little different. I think he’s still plotting his path to victory. I think even after 200 races he was kind of planning how he was going to do it. I was trying just to survive,” Cummins said.
It was only when Australia reached 250 that he thought a miracle might happen.
“I think it wasn’t until the spinners were almost done and there were maybe 40 out of 40 or something that I said to myself that even if Max came out here, I think the other guys can do it. But yeah, literally in the last 20 minutes, that was pretty much the only time,” he added.
Maxwell battled a cramp in his right leg and needed several medical timeouts before accomplishing the impossible.
“At first when I got there we thought the mysterious tops were the biggest problem. The ball was still spinning a little and they were playing really well. For me it was just about holding on,” Cummins told the media. after Australia’s sensational victory.
“Maxi was still scoring quite freely. We knew it was the kind of wicket that gets easier. (We) didn’t really feel like run rate was ever going to be an issue with Maxie still in the pregnant,” Cummins said.
The Australian skipper hit as many as 68 balls during his 202-run stand for the eighth wicket and scored just 12 runs, not for once attempting a scoring shot for himself and leaving all the responsibility to Maxwell.
Cummins said the plan had worked quite well for Australia.
“For me it was just about survival and I just hope we see to some of the other bowlers that maybe this wicket doesn’t suit as much. It was a pretty simple plan. (We) didn’t looked too far,” Cummins said.
Cummins said that in such situations, bowlers rarely have powerful shots to stop song batters like Maxwell who hit them for six runs over third man by literally batting on one leg.
“It’s just a one-man show. It’s like it looks so easy. I’m at the other end and I don’t see any gaps in the pack – I don’t see where I’m going to score a boundary – and it seems like every time he sees it, he runs away for four,” praised his Australian teammate Cummins.
Players like Maxwell are monsters and what they can achieve is their preserve.
“He still can’t move and still manages to hit a third man six with a reverse spin. He’s a monster, he hits in different areas, again he makes things look so easy. When you’re facing someone like that as a bowler, you don’t have many options,” Cummins added.
While the crowd at Wankhede Stadium supported Afghanistan for the majority of the match, Cummins could hear their allegiances shifting during Maxwell’s ‘freak show’.
“The crowd is normally on Maxie’s side whenever he plays here,” Cummins said.
“You could hear him getting louder and louder with every boundary, and I think, (just) when he started not moving his feet and still scoring boundaries. You can hear them going crazy,” Cummins said.
However, the Australian captain was honest enough to admit that he is yet to put together a full match in this World Cup, despite joining India and South Africa in the semi-finals.
“Even more so, I’m really happy with the way we’re playing, the style we’re playing. I mean, today was a bit of an outlier, Maxie got us out of that one, but like with the bat, we were aggressive, we took the games, we really put the pressure back on the opposition ” said Cummins. .
“Everything is going very well after a bit of a slow start. I still don’t think we’ve made a complete game,” he added.
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