Glenn Maxwell © Getty Images
Glenn Maxwell © AFP

Glenn Maxwell finally bounced back from a bad patch which he was going through for a very long time. More importantly, his good form came at the very time when Australia wanted one of their experienced guys to step up in a must-win match. Australia faced hosts West Indies in the eighth One-Day International (ODI) of the Tri-Nation Series also including South Africa at Barbados on Tuesday. A win would take them to the final, a loss would send them back to Australia. Chasing West Indies’ target of 283, Australia lost their openers early and it was skipper Steven Smith along with Mitchell Marsh who took charge. They faced a blow when the Caribbeans dismissed Smith, bringing an out of form Maxwell at the crease. The board has shown faith in him time after time and it was his turn to prove his worth and yes, he did it! Full Cricket Scorecard: West Indies vs Australia, Match 8, Tri-Nation Series 2016 at Barbados

3,0,0,6,0—No, this is not some pin-code. These are Maxwell’s scores before this match. Even the best of batsmen would find it difficult to bounce back in confidence with these numbers. Maxwell came in when Australia required 61 off 48. Since Marsh Junior was the set batsman at the crease with 68 runs on board, their initial plan of action must have been Marsh leading the two with Maxwell playing the second fiddle. However, the off-spinner had other ideas. Forty-six off the needed 61 runs came off Maxwell’s bat who went all blazing with 2 sixes and 5 fours. These two ensured Australia became the first side to qualify for the final, which is scheduled to be played on Sunday.

Watching Maxwell bat flawlessly from the other end, Marsh a proud teammate said, “I said give yourself a few balls mate and then go for it. I was literally speechless at the other end watching an innings like that.” READ: Maxwell’s innings against WI left me speechless: Marsh

Maxwell has been retaining his place in the playing XI despite of poor form due to his all-round skills. Although the runs were not coming, he always managed a wicket or two and that allowed Australia to go with an extra pacer which is certainly a plus point. Nevertheless, at some point of time the trust would have been broken, Cricket Australia is known to be heartless — you either perform or go back to First-Class and return only when you have proved your worth. Maxwell, certainly wasn’t ready for the axing.

Maxwell announced himself at par with Chris Gayle in the IPL 2014 when he replaced the Caribbean cricketer as the highlight of the seventh edition of the cash-rich league. Knowing what impression Gayle holds in IPL, Maxwell’s achievement was massive. Unluckily he never touched the three-digit score, his 552 runs from 16 matches ensured Kings XI Punjab’s first-ever IPL final. However, the Australian failed to repeat the same magic in the very important occasion and Punjab finished as that season’s runners up. It was just that span of time when Maxwell displayed his ruthless form; what he actually is capable of in limited-overs cricket.

He has shown his ability in the T20 leagues but he is yet to recreate the same rhythm for his national side. While his strike-rate is almost 130, the number of runs does not exhibit his true potential. Having played 66 ODIs, he has just 1 century to his name so far and over 5 scores in 80s and 90s. This demonstrates his tendency of rarely converting starts in match-winning finishes. Maxwell though has the capability along with the likes of Marsh and James Faulkner to form the trio of Australian finishers in the limited-overs format.

(Sakshi Gupta, a reporter with CricketCountry, is a sports fanatic whose mantra in life is “do only what you enjoy.” Her Twitter handle is @sakshi2929)