Eoin Morgan’s six-hitting heroics against Afghanistan re-wrote the record books but Moeen Ali remains confident that it is he, and not his skipper, who hits the biggest maximums in the England side.
Ali should win his 100th ODI cap against Sri Lanka on Friday after the all-rounder came roaring back to form with the bat at the death earlier this week at Old Trafford.
Ali’s knock of 31 from only nine balls included four sixes but was left in the shade somewhat by Captain Morgan’s ridiculous effort.
Morgan hit 17 sixes, an ODI record, but none of them were as big as the one Ali spanked over midwicket at the death that travelled 93m.
Jason Roy has hit the biggest six for England at the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2019 – a 97m effort in Cardiff against Bangladesh – but with the opener out injured, Ali could well better that.
“We do talk about it, who hits the biggest sixes and stuff. I think mine was probably the biggest (at Old Trafford),” he said.
“We do have a bit of banter about it and I big myself up about it!
“When you first come in, to have a go, it is not always easy. I heard from a great player that, you know, if you have 10 innings, if you come off three times, you have done really well, but when you come off, you come off properly.”
Bringing up a century of caps is a fantastic achievement also for the 32-year-old Ali – but the Worcestershire star knows how he would really like to commemorate it.
“It means a lot, to play a hundred ODI games for England is beyond my wildest dreams. I never thought I would get close to that so it is an amazing feeling,” he added.
“It’s been great to be part of the change since I first came in in 2015, to see the team where we are now, I think looking back if I was to retire I would always think that I was part of that change and that whole mindset changing into the great cricket we have played.
“But as a team we know that trophy matters for us and hopefully this is it.
“Without putting that pressure, not getting too tense and being true to the way we have been playing and that has not changed in pressure situations.”
Next up in the group stage for England are Sri Lanka at Headingley, and a win should put the hosts on the verge of the semi-finals with three games to spare.
England have won their last six ODIs at this ground and Sri Lanka have only beaten Afghanistan so far at this World Cup.
But Ali is not going to underestimate the Sri Lankans – who actually beat England in the last ODI the two sides played against each other before Christmas in Colombo.
“Of course you want to win all the games but if it doesn’t happen then it doesn’t happen,” he added.
“It is obviously a big game but all of them are big and we know momentum is key. Both teams are playing well, I am sure they are very confident as well.
“You can lose to anyone in this tournament. Sri Lanka pose a big threat, I saw them against Australia and they were playing really well and probably could have won that one.
“At the moment the top four are there for a reason, because they are playing the best cricket of all the teams and are the most consistent.
“There are still a lot of games to go, this could be the top four but anything can happen.
“And our motto almost has been to not take the foot off the gas, every game we play like it's our last."