Glenn Maxwell’s outrageous century helped Australia chase down a formidable target of 223 in the third T20I in Guwahati.
The utter and complete silence in the stands at the ACA Stadium in Guwahati. Not the kind of silence that preceded at the World Cup final between India and Australia in Ahmedabad where doom was written all over the fate of the Men in Blue from the first innings itself. This one was different as it seized the fans with the uncertainty and tension of a match that went right down to the wire.
Despite India registering their third successive 200+ total in the ongoing T20I series, thanks to a spellbinding knock of 123 runs from Ruturaj Gaikwad, Glenn Maxwells’ one-man show - a 48-ball 104 - ensured that Australia remained alive in the series with just two matches to go.
It’s obvious that both teams are still suffering from the hangover of the two-month-long Cricket World Cup that ended with a heartbreaking final for India just 10 days ago. The batting has been supreme so far but when it comes to the bowling department, the choices are worrying. Sure, this is a second-string attack but the likes of Prasidh Krishna, Avesh Khan, and Arshdeep Singh have had plenty of action in international cricket before. In a series where they were expected to step up in the absence of regular stars Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj, and Mohammed Shami, it seems like they have to go back to the drawing board once again.
Take the case of Prasidh Krishna for example. In the first two T20Is, he had conceded 91 runs in his eight overs before setting an unwanted record on Tuesday where he gave away 68 runs in a single T20 game without taking a wicket - by far, the most runs conceded by an Indian bowler in this format.
Glenn Maxwell took an early liking to him after arriving to the crease at a score of 66 for 2 in the sixth over following Travis Head’s sensational start. The Big Show slammed two sixes and a four off the eighth over bowled by Prasidh to get to 25 in 10 balls but the quick dismissals of Josh Inglis and Marcus Stoinis put the brakes on his acceleration.
With Australia needing 88 off 39, Maxwell knew that the game was on in dewy conditions where he himself conceded 30 runs in his final over. He started the charge towards the target by thumping Avesh for six and four in the 16th and launching back-to-back sixes off Arshdeep in the 17th.
Prasidh managed to keep his nerves and bowled a tidy 18th over to put the pressure back on Australia but Axar’s 19th was expensive. The equation came down to 21 off six balls in the final over and after four boundaries, a six, and a single, it all came crashing down for India. Maxwell had done the unthinkable again!
His century overshadowed a brilliant effort from Ruturaj Gaikwad who was the star in the first innings. He brought up his century off 52 balls, and finished on 123 off 57 but it didn’t prove to be India’s night.