England captain Eoin Morgan set a new world record of 17 sixes in an individual one-day international innings as the World Cup hosts thrashed Afghanistan by 150 runs on Tuesday.
Victory at Old Trafford saw favourites England go ahead of holders Australia to sit top of the World Cup group table on net run-rate. Morgan’s six-hitting spree in his career-best 148 set the tone for England’s team total of 25 sixes, which was also a new ODI innings record.
The Dubliner’s innings, which featured 118 runs in boundaries, was all the more impressive as Morgan had been doubtful for this match with a back spasm suffered in England’s win over the West Indies, in which he could not bat.
‘I’m getting quite old, running around with a bad back, I never thought in my wildest dreams I’d produce an innings like that!’ Morgan said.
‘I had an extremely bad back after the last game but our medical staff have done wonders with medication and extensive treatment. I have pretty much been living with the physio.
‘It was a special day. It’s the World Cup. We’re loving playing in it. On the big stage, it is nice to do. Morgan’s masterclass was the centrepiece of England’s 397-6. That was the highest total of the tournament so far and the largest England had made at any World Cup, surpassing their 386-6 against Bangladesh in Cardiff 10 days ago.
Even though bottom of the table Afghanistan, suffering their fifth defeat in five matches, posted their highest World Cup total of 247-8 they were never up with the required run-rate. ‘We are where we want to be. The next two or three games are pretty crucial,’ Morgan said of England’s World Cup hopes.
‘We want to bring our level of intensity to every game. Making that a priority is important to us. Afghanistan captain Gulbadin Naib saluted Morgan, saying: ‘It was one of the best innings I’ve ever seen from Eoin so congratulations to him.
‘We did a lot of good things in the field but we dropped Morgan, which is the main point of his innings and how he then utilised it.’ Hashmatullah Shahidi completed a gutsy 68-ball fifty on his way to 76, while his fourth-wicket stand of partnership of 94 with Ashgar Afghan (44) was a record for any Afghanistan wicket at a World Cup.
Earlier, Morgan, dropped on 28, dominated a third-wicket stand of 189 with Joe Root (88), whose contribution to their partnership was a mere 43.