ODI World Cup 2023: Australia chased 292 from 91 for 7 to storm into the semi-finals
Australia's remarkable resurgence from a dire situation at 91 for 7 led them to secure a spot in the semi-finals. Glenn Maxwell's incredible performance, including a double century while battling cramps, played a pivotal role in their victory.
Australia, starting from a challenging position at 91 for 7, launched an astonishing comeback to secure their spot in the semi-finals. Glenn Maxwell, despite battling cramps, showcased an incredible performance, amassing 210 runs from a mere 128 deliveries and sealing the victory with a six to reach his remarkable double century. In the pursuit of the target of 292, Pat Cummins contributed with an unbeaten 12 runs from 68 balls, ultimately landing on the side of the victors.
Afghanistan, who once appeared to have a foot in the semi-finals, found themselves bewildered, all thanks to the extraordinary hitting of a man who, despite enduring excruciating pain and barely being able to stand, had a smile on his face as he guided his team to the 2023 World Cup knockout stage with an unbeaten 201!
Afghanistan won the toss and chose to bat first. Several batsmen made promising starts and revolved around Ibrahim Zadran, who not only became the first Afghan player to score a World Cup century but also carried his bat throughout the full 50 overs. The Afghan Atalans set a competitive total of 291/5 on the board, with valuable contributions from various members of the top and middle order. Zadran was involved in several fruitful partnerships before Rashid Khan added a stylish finish to challenge Australia under the floodlights. Josh Hazlewood claimed a couple of wickets, while Starc, Maxwell, and Zampa each took one.
Afghanistan's seamers made the ball swing both ways and inflicted severe damage on the five-time champions. Naveen-ul-Haq and Azmatullah Omarzai secured a pair of wickets each, while Rashid Khan's double strike pushed the Aussies to the brink of a substantial defeat. Marnus Labuschagne's run-out in the midst of this only underscored Australia's catastrophic situation, as they found themselves drowning at 91/7 in a mere 18.3 overs.
Omarzai delivered an exceptional spell, and at one point, the right-arm pacer was even on the verge of a hat-trick, with Maxwell facing the crucial hat-trick ball and surviving a review as well. Early in his innings, Mujeeb Ur Rahman dropped a straightforward chance at short fine leg, granting Maxwell a second chance. It all culminated in an historic run chase by the Australians. Glenn Maxwell, grappling with cramps, lower back pain, and an utter lack of energy, refused to retire and continued to battle until the very end, crafting one of the most exceptional ODI innings in cricket history.