Chasing a competitive target of 283, Australia relied on half-centuries from skipper Steve Smith (78) and Marsh (79 not out) before Maxwell smacked an unbeaten 46 off mere 26 balls to help his side cruise to victory with eight balls to spare.
Maxwell, who was dropped from the previous two games on account of his poor form, ended his recent streak of low scores by bludgeoning West Indies bowlers for five fours and two sixes, including a switch hit off the bowling of Sunil Narine.
“I was literally speechless at the other end watching an innings like that,” Marsh was quoted as saying by cricket.com.au. “Maxi’s obviously had a lot of doubts and hasn’t been in the greatest of form, but an innings like that tonight really shows why he’s one of the first picked in this side.”
“He’s just so dangerous and he can win us games like that in a few overs. I’m really wrapped for him. Maxi’s a free spirit, you’ve just got to let him go and do what he does. And when it comes off like that, it’s unbelievable to watch,” Marsh added.
Earlier, West Indies had posted 282 for eight after batting first, thanks to Marlon Samuels’ first ever hundred (125) against Australia and a record-breaking partnership with Denesh Ramdin (91).
West Indies and South Africa will now meet in the last preliminary match on Friday with the winners to face Australia in Sunday’s final.