Afghanistan hope to avoid more World Cup heartbreak ahead of Glenn Maxwell reunion

Jasper BruceAAP
VideoThe Australian batsman came from nowhere to produce an all-time great diving catch with one hand.

Nearly eight months on, Glenn Maxwell’s most recent innings against Afghanistan still gives spinner Rashid Khan nightmares.

And as the sides prepare to meet for the first time since that fateful night in Mumbai, the Australian allrounder says he knows what he must do to rediscover his brutal best at the Twenty20 World Cup.

By numbers alone, Maxwell’s unbeaten 201 against Afghanistan during last year’s victorious one-day international (ODI) World Cup campaign was the greatest individual innings by an Australian since the format’s inception in 1971.

Take into account that a cramping Maxwell almost single-handedly hoisted his side from the brink of collapse to a semi-final berth, and the knock became legendary from the outset.

“At night, whenever I’m going to sleep, sometimes I do think about that game,” Khan said ahead of the sides’ next clash in St Vincent on Sunday.

“It just comes in the mind. Sometimes when I think about that game, my body just changes.

“That was an unbelievable knock, one of the best innings we have ever seen.”

Glenn Maxwell bats against Afghanistan at the 2023 ODI World Cup.
Camera IconAfghanistan could only watch as Glenn Maxwell hammered one of the great ODI World Cup innings. (AP PHOTO) Credit: AAP

Coming off a disastrous Indian Premier League campaign with Royal Challengers Bangalore, Maxwell has been only a modest contributor to Australia’s T20 World Cup campaign.

A knock of 28 against England in the group stage represents Maxwell’s highest score this tournament, but he showed flashes of his brilliant best in the last-start defeat of Bangladesh - most notably when slogging a six over long on.

Rain left him stranded on 14, but Maxwell said he was ready to shake off a slow start to the tournament.

“Over the last few games, I’ve been a little bit tentative ... trying to poke way into a gap and get a one,” he said after Friday’s win.

“(But) I’ve got to play the strengths that I have a bit more often.

“Sometimes your mind can start to play a few tricks on you ... you start to look at previous scores.

“But at this stage of the tournament, I’ve just gone back to what I do really well. And hopefully that holds me in good stead.”

Afghanistan had Australia on the ropes at 7-91 at the ODI World Cup before Maxwell’s miracle knock.

They must complete the upset this time around to keep in touch with a fairytale semi-final berth.

Australia can wrap up their own spot in the tournament’s final four with victory - provided India beat Bangladesh earlier on Sunday morning.

Neither side has yet played at Arnos Vale in Kingstown, but Maxwell said Australia would take confidence from their recent form in the Caribbean.

“It feels like we’ve been the quickest ones to adapt to the conditions throughout the tournament,” he said.

“I’m sure that’s going to probably hold true for the last few games. The team that adapts the quickest will come out victorious.”

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