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Glenn Maxwell defies illness to hit fastest World Cup century as Australia crush Netherlands

Australia’s Glenn Maxwell said he was so unwell he did not want to go out and bat before he defied his illness and shattered the record for the fastest century in Cricket World Cup history. The 35-year-old smashed South Africa blaster Aiden Markram’s previous mark of 49 with an extraordinary 40-ball ton against the Netherlands in Delhi that set up Australia’s 309-run win.

Markram had claimed the record, previously held by Ireland’s Kevin O’Brien since 2011, against Sri Lanka on 7 October – but the Proteas star kept it for just 18 days. Maxwell’s century was the fourth-quickest in one-day international (ODI) history, falling nine balls shy of South African legend AB de Villiers’ knock against West Indies in 2015.

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But he might not even had made it to the crease in Delhi, after a bug had laid him low and given him a sleepless night on the eve of the match.

“I’ve been pretty crook all day so I wasn’t really expecting much,” Maxwell said. “[That] probably cleared my head a little bit to be able to just go out there and play.

“I was sitting in the changing room and I didn’t really want to bat, which is a bit different than last game where I was way too eager to get out there. We talked about over-arousal levels and I probably reached double maximum if you couldn’t tell.

“I was a little bit more chilled when I got out there. I didn’t have many high hopes. I’ve been pretty cooked the last couple of days. Coincided with the sleepless night last night with the family over.”

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Australia’s innings had suffered a slight lull until Maxwell came to the crease in the 39th over on Wednesday night. He didn’t even face a ball until the 41st over, but immediately exploded into action.

The Victorian smashed nine fours and eight sixes, whacking the ball to all parts of Delhi’s Arun Jaitley Stadium with a mix of reverse sweeps and traditional slogs. Maxwell broke his own Australian record for fastest ODI century, set at the 2015 World Cup against Sri Lanka. Incredibly, it was only his third ODI ton, his other hundred in the format coming against England in 2020.

Dutch bowler Bas de Leede was on the end of much of Maxwell’s hitting, his figures of 2-115 the most expensive in ODI history.

Maxwell felt he had dispelled any self-doubts he may have had with his dazzling knock. He broke his leg in November in a freak accident and missed Australia’s recent tour of South Africa with an ankle issue that affected his preparations for the tournament.

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“It’s probably something I didn’t set out to do,” Maxwell admitted of his blistering innings. “I just tried to get a good platform. On this ground, you can cash in and it was nice to get a bit of rhythm finally and hit a few out of the middle of the bat.

“If you look at the last few games I haven’t been doing that, so it was just being able to give myself a bit of time out in the middle and to give myself that confidence and platform to really go from there.

“It’s a huge confidence boost, a few doubts creep in when you haven’t got runs. It’s like a perfect game, when you get 400 and bowl a team out for under 100,” Maxwell said after his side had made 399-8 and Netherlands were skittled for 90.