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ESPNcricinfo Awards

ESPNcricinfo Awards 2020 ODI batting winner: leave it to Maxi

When you're chasing 303 and you're five down, you need a performance that wins the ODI batting performance award for the year

Valkerie Baynes
Valkerie Baynes
Maxwell bludgeoned four fours and seven sixes on the way to his epic 108  •  Getty Images

Maxwell bludgeoned four fours and seven sixes on the way to his epic 108  •  Getty Images

What wasn't to like about Maxwell's series-defining innings in the final international men's fixture of a belated English season? His 108 came off 90 balls in a 212-run partnership with Alex Carey, who scored 106 off 114. It rescued the visitors from 73 for 5 chasing 303 and condemned England to their first bilateral ODI series defeat at home since 2015.
Put into personal as well as team context, Maxwell's knock takes on greater lustre. Five years after scoring his only previous ODI century - off just 51 balls against Sri Lanka at the World Cup - Maxwell brought up his second with a six off Tom Curran. Having been moved up and down the order and in and out of the side, and taken a break from the game for mental health reasons, Maxwell seemed to have found clarity and calm at No. 7. His similarly counterattacking 77 helped Australia win the first match and signalled what was to come in his Player-of-the Series-sealing performance. It was a striking balance of necessarily belligerent, as Australia pursued a big target, restorative after the top-order slump, and slightly opportunistic when he earned a reprieve from Jos Buttler.

Key moment

On 44, Maxwell took an almighty swing at Adil Rashid, looking to clear midwicket and Buttler failed to gather behind the stumps. Initially it looked like a stumping chance gone a-begging, although, as it turned out, Maxwell's foot was planted inside his crease, and that it was an edge that Buttler had put down. Maxwell made the most of his good fortune. He launched sixes off Rashid in each of his next three overs, dropping to one knee to send him beyond cow corner, ploughing him into the second tier over wide long-on, and kneeling again to thrash him through midwicket. During that time, he and Carey reached their 100 stand from as many balls and pulled Australia up to 185 for 5. By the time they both exited, Australia needed ten off the last over and Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins saw them home.

The numbers

7 Number of sixes Maxwell scored, along with four fours, in his innings.
24 The highest score by any of Australia's top five, before Maxwell arrived to work his magic.

What they said

"What makes him [Maxwell] so damaging is he can play all around the ground. I don't think there are many bowlers who can trouble him when he's having one of those days, but the way he navigated that innings, took it deeper and deeper, of course, you have to take your chances chasing seven an over from a long way out and he did that perfectly."
Australia captain Aaron Finch
"I feel like I've always batted better for Australia when we've been in a bit of trouble, and to be able to get us through that and get us to a position where we could win the game was really pleasing."
Glenn Maxwell

The closest contender

Paul Stirling, 142 vs England, third ODI, Southampton
Stirling combined with Andy Balbirnie for a partnership of 214 to set Ireland up for a historic victory over England. In echoes of 2011, Ireland again chased down 329 to record just their second win against England and their first ODI victory against major opposition since the 2015 World Cup. Stirling authoritatively compiled his innings off 128 balls against the Player of the Series, David Willey, Moeen Ali, and Saqib Mahmood - whom he subjected to consecutive leg-side sixes. Stirling was finally run out by some good work from Curran - but not before he had helped set the foundation for Ireland's win.

Valkerie Baynes is a general editor at ESPNcricinfo