In the past year, Australia have not won a single limited-overs series against a Test-playing nation. Given their recent challenges, coming out ahead in a thrilling last-ball finish against India did wonders for their confidence, Glenn Maxwell said.
Chasing 127 in the first Twenty20 International in Visakhapatnam on Sunday, 24 February, Maxwell's half-century had put Australia in control. However, as they collapsed from 101/3 to 113/7, they were in danger of slipping to defeat from a position of strength. Even Maxwell had to admit: "We probably should have lost."
With 14 runs needed off the last over, calm heads in Pat Cummins and Jhye Richardson finally saw Australia through, bringing jubilation to the visiting camp. And their star batsman of the day was excited about the effect the performance would have on their mood.
What a match in Visakhapatnam! India came close to defending a low total, but Australia prevailed on the final ball to go 1-0 up.https://t.co/kYCElJJ6tH— ICC (@ICC) February 24, 2019
"A lot of the times when you come over here, or when you're on overseas trips and you get close games, you lose them so often. The home crowd can get behind the home team and you can lose," Maxwell pointed out. "It can just put your momentum in a different way and the days you're stuck in the hotel become longer than they are.
"To win a game like this ... it can just bring the whole group together. It's been a hard eight or nine months of limited-overs cricket for us, and to have a result like this first game on tour is great for our confidence and something we can hopefully ride and gain momentum.
If I can turn those sorts of innings into not-out, 75-ish, and be consistent that way, I think I can probably go a long way in penciling my name for the World Cup.
"Winning momentum is great but losing momentum, as we've found out, is pretty hard to turn around. Hopefully, we can start off our World Cup preparations on a good foot."
Hailing the effort and calmness of Cummins, he added, "I did mention to Finchy [Aaron Finch, the captain], that if anyone could go out there, face their first ball in the last over and get us 14, it's probably Pat Cummins. He can do anything. He does it quite regularly. I think I remember him in UAE a few years ago. Think he came out and hit a first-ball six.
"He got the job done tonight, but for him to keep a cool head, hit a gap on the off side against a guy who hits three out of six yorkers is just real good batting. And Jhye Richardson as well, at the end. That was good for a young player to do that, I'm sure he'd have loved the opportunity to bat with Pat at the end. You see that little cuddle at the end. It was beautiful."
Fourteen from the final over? No problems for Australia star Pat Cummins. pic.twitter.com/xUED0OE4rR— cricket.com.au (@cricketcomau) February 24, 2019
Maxwell was the third Australia batsman to fall, having made 56 of the team's 89 runs till then. His 43-ball effort had been one of hard graft, with the batsman quickly realising that he would do well to get lower to bat and deal with the low bounce on a sluggish pitch. He chose to attack India's two wrist spinners, and although he fell trying to go big against Yuzvendra Chahal, he stood by his tactics.
With the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2019 a few months away, it was up to him to work at not throwing his wicket away and seeing the team through to a win, he said. "I have no idea if I'm going to be in that World Cup squad or what number I'm going to bat, so I suppose it just comes down to opportunity," he said. "If I can keep making most of opportunities like tonight.
"It would have been nice to finish it off, but I chose that Chahal [over] as my time to go tonight and I still back that as the right decision. I found Krunal [Pandya] and [Jasprit] Bumrah were very hard to get away. We decided that the two leggies were our best opportunities to score.
"If I can turn those sorts of innings into not-out, 75-ish, and be consistent that way, I think I can probably go a long way in penciling my name for the World Cup and hopefully continue that job for the rest of this year."
Personalise your homepage with an ICC account
News, fixtures and updates tailored to your favourite team. Never miss a moment!