Australia showcased an all-encompassing performance in their recent World Cup match against the Netherlands, securing a resounding victory. Despite their dominant display, the star batsmen from Down Under maintain that achieving 400-plus totals in ODI cricket remains an exception rather than the rule.
The former world champions amassed a staggering 399 runs and swiftly took all 10 wickets for a mere 90 runs in New Delhi, sealing an impressive win.
Amidst ongoing discussions regarding the growing influence of T20 cricket on the 50-over format, characterized by middle-order collapses and high-scoring games, Glenn Maxwell and Steve Smith emphasized that various factors come into play when approaching the 400-run milestone in a 50-over match. These factors include the prevailing conditions, the quality of the opposition’s bowling, and, importantly, having a fortunate day with the bat.
Smith, in his post-match analysis, highlighted that achieving a high score like the one on Wednesday hinges on the top-order batsmen laying a solid foundation, navigating the middle overs effectively, and setting the stage for late-inning aggression. However, he underlined that such feats are only attainable when the pitch supports the batsmen, making it an exceptional occurrence.
“It’s all about the condition of the wicket. Attempting to reach a 400-run total on the Chennai pitch we encountered in our first match against India would have been impractical – we might have been dismissed for a mere 150. So, our strategy has to be tailored to the playing conditions,” he emphasized following the match.
Maxwell showcased remarkable batting prowess, achieving the fastest century in an ODI World Cup match with his blistering 44-ball 106. However, he wasn’t the sole centurion; David Warner also contributed with his sixth World Cup century, while Smith and Marnus Labuschagne posted scores of 71 and 62, respectively.
Reiterating Smith’s point, Maxwell stressed that reaching a 400-run total requires more than just a favorable pitch. He explained during his post-match press conference, “Several factors, beyond the pitch itself, need to align to reach 400. You need a solid foundation, a clear intent during the middle overs, and a powerful finish to the innings.”
Maxwell’s record-breaking feat surpassed Aiden Markram, who had recently set the record with a 49-ball century on the same pitch when South Africa posted a formidable 428 against Sri Lanka.
When South Africa reached their 420 total, they had – if I remember correctly – three players scoring centuries. Even with such a strong performance, it still required Markram’s brilliant display to inject momentum after a long partnership, which can be quite challenging,” commented Maxwell.
“In one-day cricket, it can be tough to maintain the tempo after a significant partnership, as there’s an expectation to sustain the momentum. However, he executed it beautifully,” Maxwell added.
With records on his mind, as Maxwell launched a relentless assault in the latter stages of Australia’s innings, progressing from 14 runs in the 42nd over to a century by the 49th, he kept a close eye on the number of deliveries he faced. This drive to chase world records has been a consistent source of motivation throughout his career.
I’m acutely conscious of records, especially the number of balls I’ve faced. I hold a special affection for records like the fastest 50 and the fastest 100; they hold a unique appeal for me. Perhaps, at times, I’ve pushed my limits a bit too far, even if it meant sacrificing my own performance,” he candidly admitted.
“I’ve found myself in situations where, once I get in the groove, I can accelerate to a century in no time, making it quite challenging for bowlers to contain me. It’s all about overcoming that initial delivery hurdle,” he added, with a grin.