Morgan's record-breaking six-fest helps England crush Afghanistan
MANCHESTER, England (Reuters) - Eoin Morgan rewrote the record books on Tuesday, clobbering 17 sixes - the most in a one-day international innings - in a blistering century as England crushed Afghanistan by 150 runs in their World Cup match at Old Trafford.
Morgan smashed a career-best 148 — with 118 coming from sixes and fours — off 71 balls to power England to 397-6, their highest World Cup total.
Even the presence of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in the stands could not inspire Gulbadin Naib’s men who managed 247-8 before succumbing to their fifth defeat in five matches.
Hashmatullah Shahidi (76), Asghar Afghan (44) and Rahmat Shah (46) helped Afghanistan to their highest total in the World Cup but they stay rooted to the bottom of the points table, which England now head after their fourth victory.
“Today was a fantastic day for us, and I managed to have a day out, which was great,” man-of-the-match Morgan said.
“Hobbling around with a bad back, I didn’t think I’d produce an innings like that,” added Morgan who suffered a back spasm during last week’s win against West Indies.
“It makes it a bit more special when I can compete with the youngsters in the side.”
Jonny Bairstow smashed 90 and Joe Root made 88, but it was Morgan’s breathtaking six-hitting display that turned the match into a statistician’s delight.
Afghan spin spearhead Rashid Khan logged the worst bowling figures in World Cup history — 110 runs off nine overs without a single wicket — illustrating how defenceless they looked against Morgan’s onslaught.
After Morgan won the toss and elected to bat, Bairstow walked out with James Vince, his third opening partner in five matches, and they looked largely untroubled against Afghanistan’s modest bowling resources.
Jason Roy’s hamstring injury handed Vince an excellent opportunity to impress but the opener fluffed his pull shot against Dawlat Zadran and departed for 26.
Root and Bairstow milked the spin-heavy Afghan attack during their 120-run collaboration before Naib intervened.
Bairstow was looking good for his first century of the tournament but Naib took a smart return catch to dismiss the opener.
Root was his fluent self at one end but Morgan wasted precious little time before going on the rampage.
Afghanistan had an opportunity to dismiss the England captain when he was on 28 but Dawlat spilled a skier at deep midwicket, a lapse which is likely to haunt him for a while.
Morgan threw caution to the wind and began clearing the ropes with ridiculous ease.
His 11th six brought up his 57-ball hundred and there was simply no let up in his aggression even after registering the fourth fastest World Cup century.
Rashid bore the brunt of it. Of the 11 sixes he conceded in a highly forgettable outing, seven flew from Morgan’s blade.
India’s Rohit Sharma, West Indies’s Chris Gayle and AB de Villiers of South Africa shared the previous record of 16 sixes in an ODI innings.
Naib (3-68) finally ended Morgan’s six-hitting spree in the 47th over but England reached another milestone on a day of tumbling batting records.
Their combined 25 sixes broke England’s own record of 24 in an ODI match as Morgan’s men went on to post the highest total at this year’s tournament.
Dawlat’s 3-85 was little consolation after dropping Morgan.
“It was one of the best innings I’ve ever seen,” Naib said.
“Unfortunately Rashid was expensive and not at his best, so England scored around 400. We did a lot of good things but we dropped Morgan.”
England 397-6 (50 overs): Morgan 148 (71), Bairstow 90 (99), Root 88 (82), Gulbadin 3-68
Afghanistan 247-8 (50 overs): Hashmatullah 76, Archer 3-52, Rashid 3-66