Tunbridge Wells And Wankhede: When Cummins’ Lieutenants Remained ‘Fixated’ Like Kapil’s Devils

It was a cold morning in Tunbridge Wells back then in 1983 and after 40 years, the warm evening at the Wankhede carried the same vibes. It was Kapil Dev back then and it was Glenn Maxwell now. It was 17 for 5 against an unheralded Zimbabwe team full of professionals playing league cricket in England back then and on Tuesday night, it was 91 for 7 against an Afghanistan attack full of T20 league freelancers across the globe. The similarities don’t end there.

On June 25, 1983, team manager PR Man Singh didn’t allow Krishnamachari Srikkanth to take a leak as Kapil bulldozed the Peter Rawsons and Kevin Currans. Everyone was told to stay put where they are till Kapil was batting.

Superstitions and cricket have had a long standing relationship and when Maxwell was on a carnage, the Australian players were “fixated” in their designated dressing room positions till he swatted Mujeeb ur Rahaman for a six.

“I was sitting with George Bailey and Zamps (Adam Zampa) kept floating in and out. He was probably a bit nervous at the end but everyone was sort of fixated (on) where they were and sort of set up our camp,” Josh Hazlewood told the media here after Australia won the game and qualified for the semifinals.

Maxwell battled cramps to produce an innings of a lifetime — certainly one of the best ODI and World Cup knocks ever — to guide Australia to a three-wicket win over Afghanistan mastering a stunning chase.

The ‘Big Show’ teamed up with Australia captain Pat Cummins with their team staring at a massive defeat, reduced to 91 for seven chasing 292. But a 202-run unbeaten record stand for the eighth wicket saw Australia overhauling the target with 3.1 overs to spare and Maxwell being heralded for one of the best innings ever.

“I do not think sitting there, there were that many nerves. It slightly crept on as the innings got going. I was just blown away by what happened and just got caught up watching like everyone else. I did not think about batting at all,” Hazlewood added.

The lanky bowler said Maxwell’s 128-ball 201 not out featuring 21 fours and 10 sixes was his No 1 innings, even though the all-rounder smacked the fastest century in World Cup against the Netherlands a few days ago.

“That is No 1, I think. We have seen a hundred off 40 balls not long ago and I cannot remember an ODI innings from anyone (which) can match that,” Hazlewood said.

“I am happy he is on my team — he can hit 360 (degrees). It is like bowling to SKY (Suryakumar Yadav) and Jos Buttler at times. You do not know where to put the fielders — he has got so many shots, it is hard work,” said the right-arm pacer when asked about where he would bowl to Maxwell if he was in the opposition side.

Australia were guilty of giving away too many runs towards the end of the Afghanistan innings, who piled up a record 291 for five for their highest total against any team in World Cup history.

“It seems (like) a long time ago now,” Hazlewood said when asked if giving away more than 60 runs in the last five overs had an impact.

“There are always things in a game that you can pick out and work on. The wicket was very good, I thought they might have played a few more shots in the Powerplay and put us under the pressure there but they sort of back-ended it,” he said.

“It was a good wicket the whole way through, it is obviously tough to bat second here. We saw that at times and to get through that, you can have a crack at them,” Hazlewood added. PTI DDV KHS KHS

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