Maxwell’s stand-and-smash knock was ‘absolutely mind-boggling’. But was it the GOAT?

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Like forecasts of a dynasty after one grand final win or a sighting of the next Might and Power, the use of the term GOAT – greatest of all time – is now so readily applied for the latest impressive performance or dominant season that it’s teetering on the edge of meaningless.

But every now then, a genuine unicorn emerges where the GOAT debate is entirely justified.

Enter Glenn Maxwell and his incredible 201 not out against Afghanistan.

With Australia reeling at 7-91, Maxwell almost single-handedly carried Australia to victory with a record-breaking double century. As full-body cramps restricted his movement to upper body only, Maxwell’s knock resembled a game of French cricket on steroids.

“The most remarkable thing we’ve seen in cricket. Staggering. Absolutely mind-boggling,” exclaimed Ian Smith in commentary.

Maxwell had not even hobbled off when the cricketing world began the debate: was Maxwell’s gob-smacker the greatest one-day innings ever seen? Of the 4969 one-day internationals played since 1971, has there been a better display with the bat?

Maxwell got a powerful endorsement from a member of cricketing royalty who was watching on at the venue, the little master Sachin Tendulkar.

“From Max pressure to Max performance. This has been the best ODI knock I’ve seen in my life,” Tendulkar said on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Shoaib Akthar and Virender Sehwag both tweeted Maxwell’s was “one of all time great ODI innings” and England captain Ben Stokes also posted: “My goodness Maxi”

But GOAT debates are subjective, of course.

There have been bigger scores than Maxwell’s (his was the 10th highest ODI international score), there have been faster hundreds, and there have been big knocks made with trophies on the line, like Adam Gilchrist’s 149 in the 2007 World Cup final.

So let’s take a look at some of the other ODI knocks regarded as among the greatest ever, and you can decide.

Viv Richards 189 not out, West Indies vs England, 1984

In an era where one-day scores of 220 were considered defendable, Richards’ unbeaten 189 from 170 balls is still considered one of the best ODI innings ever played.

Viv Richards turns a ball away for four.Credit: Getty

Like Maxwell, the Master Blaster hit 26 boundaries helped the West Indies chase down England’s total of 272 – and put on 106 for the last wicket with Michael Holding.

In a “best ever” analysis performed by Cricinfo in 2019, which gives weight to multiple factors beyond runs and strike rate – such as bowling quality, pitch quality, innings status, runs with late order batsmen and location – Richards’ knock was rated the finest.

Kapil Dev 175 not out, India vs Zimbabwe, 1983

The great Indian all-rounder sits second on that Cricinfo list, with a similar knock at the 1983 World Cup against Zimbabwe. Coming in at 4-9, and with India later at 140-8, Dev’s knock of 175 off 138 balls took India to 266. India won the game, avoided getting knocked out in the group stage and went on to win the World Cup.

Rohit Sharma 264, India vs Sri Lanka, 2014

Indian batsman Rohit Sharma became the first – and only – man to pass 250 in an ODI in 2014 when he plundered Sri Lanka’s bowlers in a clash at Eden Gardens.

Sharma smashed 33 boundaries and nine sixes in the knock. Remarkably, Sharma has scored three ODI double-centuries, scoring 209 in 2013 against Australia, and 208 not out against Sri Lanka in 2017.

Adam Gilchrist 149, Australia vs Sri Lanka, 2007

The swashbuckling keeper-batsman was instrumental in Australia winning the 2007 World Cup after his dynamic 149 in the final against Sri Lanka.

Opening the batting and with a squash ball in his glove, Gilchrist belted his 149 in 104 balls and the speed of his scoring later became vital in a rain-affected game that finished in almost darkness.

Martin Guptill 237 not out, New Zealand vs West Indies, 2015

Maxwell’s double century was only the third 200-plus score in an ODI World Cup, along with Chris Gayle’s 215 in 2015 in Canberra against Zimbabwe, and Guptill’s 237 in a quarter-final in the same World Cup, in Wellington. Guptill’s knock was a brute, smashing 24 fours and 11 sixes.

AB de Villiers 149, South Africa vs West Indies, 2015

ODI batting doesn’t get much more frenetic than AB de Villiers’ 149 off 44 balls in 2015, when the classy South African teed off against the West Indies in Johannesburg. In what was also the fastest century at the time, bringing up his hundred from just 31 balls, de Villiers smashed an astonishing 16 sixes – approximately one in three balls faced were sent over the rope.

Sachin Tendulkar 200 not out, India vs South Africa, 2010

The first man to pass 200 in an ODI was the Little Master, against South Africa in 2010. It came from a comparatively modest 226 balls, but paved the way for another eight batsmen to swiftly follow. There have now been 11 ODI double-centuries.

Sachin Tendulkar was the first man to to score 200 in an ODICredit: AP


Shane Watson 185 not, Australia vs Bangladesh, 2011

The previous highest ODI score by an Australia was this beast of a knock from Shane Watson in Mirpur in 2011. Opening the batting, Watson went nuts and hit 15 fours and 15 sixes – which was a world record for sixes at the time. Watson scored his unbeaten 185 from just 96 balls, which was an astonishing 80 per cent of Australia’s total of 1-232, with Ricky Ponting’s 37 the next highest score.

Michael Bevan 78 not out, Australia vs West Indies, 1996

It wasn’t a century but who can forget Michael Bevan’s last-ball four to claim a win on New Year’s Day in 1996. Chasing a rain-affected target of 179, Bevan’s strength as a finisher saw him survive wickets tumbling and even as things looked lost with four needed from the last ball, the leftie hit Roger Harper over his head for a four and victory.

Allan Border 127 not out, Australia vs West Indies, 1993

Coming in at 2-7, Border scored an unbeaten 127 from 140 balls – a career-high – and helped Australia post a defendable 247, and beat the West Indies in the opening final of the World Series Trophy at the SCG.

Why does this count? The bowling attack was Joel Garner, Malcolm Marshall and Michael Holding, one of the best collections of pacemen ever assembled.

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