Maxwell was cramping up badly during his innings at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium, after he was joined by skipper Pat Cummins, with the Australian innings on the ropes at 91/7 while chasing 292 to win against Afghanistan.
But the Australian all-rounder scripted an unthinkable comeback from that precarious situation to hit a 128-ball 201 not out as the Aussies not just chased down the target for a three-wicket win and a place in the semi-finals, but did it with 3.1 overs to spare.It was an unbroken 202-run partnership between Maxwell and Cummins, who had the best seat in the house while scoring 12* off 68 balls and allowing his partner to do all the damage.
Maxwell’s knock became the talk of the town, not just for the 21 fours and 10 sixes he smashed but also for the state he was in, almost immobile at the crease while sending everything within his arc to the boundary.
Talking about the technical aspect of Maxwell’s power hitting in that state, former cricketers Wasim Akram, Shoaib Malik and Misbah-ul-Haq decoded how the Australian all-rounder accomplished that.
“Maxwell is an all-round sports person. He didn’t play just one sport as a kid. He was on the verge of being a tennis player, then he is a scratch golfer too,” said Akram to start the discussion on news channel ‘A Sports’.
“In some shots, if you noticed, when he used only his hands to hit, it literally felt like going with 1-wood on the first tee. In golf, you mostly use your arms, besides a little hip rotation and weight shift,” the former Pakistan skipper added.
Once Maxwell hit top speed, Cummins sat back and enjoyed it from the non-striker’s end for most part.
“In power hitting, a still base and arm swing is very important. That’s what Maxwell did,” added Misbah, who has also led Pakistan and served as the team’s head coach in the past. “He relied on his hand speed and swing. It’s like golf, the way you hit and follow through, the arms are moving so fast.”
(Maxwell getting on-field attention for his cramps – Reuters Photo)
At that point, another former Pakistan captain, Shoaib Malik, took over to explain the art of power hitting with the bat in his hand.
“Power hitting is not about feet movement, it’s about arms, arm extension…Maxwell had decided that he won’t move his legs. His weight was on both the legs, which is very important to do power hitting, because that way you can play a big shot both on front foot and back foot…When you are making connection with the ball, the straighter your elbows are (with extended arms), the better shot it will be,” Malik explained.
He went on the add where the Afghanistan bowlers were found out and had no plan B.
“The Afghan pacers should have bowled slow and wide of Maxwell’s off-stump, but they never shifted to that plan. Even the spinners could have bowled that line, but then they had to flight the ball in the air at slow pace. However, the Afghan spinners are mostly low-trajectory bowlers,” Malik added.
While the victory took Australia to the semis, where they joined India and South Africa, the defeat for Afghanistan further diminished their chances of qulifying for the semis.
Afghanistan are behind No. 4 New Zealand and No. 5 Pakistan on the points table. All three teams have eight points and are separated by net run rate going into their final league fixtures that will decide their fate.