Following half-centuries for Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne, as well as a well-executed century from David Warner, Australia’s heavyweight top order displayed batting of a bygone era, and Glenn Maxwell had started in a similar fashion. The crowd did not start cheering until he executed his signature shot, which involved placing a few balls in various locations around Feroze Shah Kotla.
It’s more accurately described as a reverse switch than a reverse sweep. Despite the bat swing’s opposite direction, the fast change in stance and grip provides the impression of a well-controlled left-handed shot. It would turn out to be both his signature and a boost to his self-esteem.
Before launching the switch shot to reroute a Paul van Meekeren full ball over point for four, Maxwell had driven both straight and through cover to a 20-ball 37. The gates of hell have opened. After that, there would be two more sixes to Bas de Leede in the next over, the second of which was a hook to a short slower ball in a single fluid motion. Both came off the switch shot. The slower one tricked, but the outcome was the same.
At that point, Maxwell’s 37 from 20 had turned into 60 off 29, and he would go on to wreak havoc, breaking the record for the fastest century in ODI World Cup history with 40 balls. Aiden Markram of South Africa had earlier this month scored a 49-ball tonne on this same pitch. That was the fourth-fastest century in ODI history.
Maxwell’s pinch-hitting on demand not only enthralled the New Delhi crowd, but it also had them howling to the tune of a well-known hit. The 35-year-old Victorian has a lengthy history of positive interactions with India, ranging from his wife’s Indian heritage to his fond memories of the Indian Premier League.
Maxwell’s two consecutive year-long stints with the Delhi Capitals are nothing to write home about, so he doesn’t quite have Warner’s affection for Delhi. However, despite having the specialised skillset to take advantage of the shorter boundaries around the Kotla, Maxwell’s IPL record here hasn’t exactly been great. Nevertheless, even at the international level, his ability to play in and around India has been a strength. With three hundred and eight fifty-plus scores in various formats, he is a formidable player for Australia. It was only a question of time until he started to perform well in this competition, similar to the five-time champions.
Not just out of the ordinary
Maxwell’s Wednesday night explosion featured more than just his unusual batting techniques. He was not reckless with it after he had the momentum after those three switch shots; in fact, he only went for it once more, snatching an unlucky inside edge for four. The bowlers were conservative with their line and length, and Netherlands captain Scott Edwards remained cautious, trying his best to cover deep backward point and third man.
The 35-year-old then used a straight bat to take advantage of the prudence shown by the Netherlands and the strain on their underwhelming bowling lineup. Unruly wide balls were cut into pieces, larger balls were elevated above the heads of bowlers, errant full tosses were removed, and mischievous balls, of which there were plenty, were not given a pass. Out of his 13 deliveries, only five were not boundaries, and those five were sixes.
Although Maxwell’s shots suggest the much-discussed impact of T20 slogging on the 50-over format, it was his astute shot selection that enabled the record-breaking barrage.
After conceding 115 runs in his 10-over period, De Leede would receive his fair share of punishment as he set an embarrassing record by leaking 29 runs and five boundaries to Maxwell in the penultimate over of the innings. This left him with the most expensive stats in ODI history.
After a five-star showing with the ball and bat, Maxwell’s hard-hitting innings will be remembered as just one of Australia’s many achievements. However, having their star finisher back among the runs and momentum in conditions that have suitable for him in the past would be a huge boost, especially as they look to reverse their unimpressive start to reclaim the Indian Premier League title. He has a strike rate of over 170 in the final powerplay throughout his ODI career.