Manchester: England crushed Afghanistan by 150 runs as the World Cup hosts smashed a record-breaking 25 sixes against the minnows at Old Trafford on Tuesday. England captain Eoin Morgan’s 148 off just 71 balls included a one-day international record 17 sixes.
His side’s 397-6 featured the most maximums in ODI history and ranked as their highest ever World Cup score.
Afghanistan never threatened to chase down their huge target and settled for 247-8 as England earned their fourth win from five matches in this year’s tournament.
Morgan hit 17 sixes in his career-best 148 at Old Trafford, with England’s total of 25 sixes also a new world record.
Morgan, dropped on 28, dominated a third-wicket stand of 189 with Joe Root (88), whose contribution to their partnership was a mere 43.
“We were just seriously entertained and that bat sounds pretty good — he has been striking them well on the golf course and he has taken it out to the middle,” said opener Jonny Bairstow.
“It was tacky early on after the wicket had been under the covers so we had to assess the situation then Rooty and I just saw where we could get to.”
Afghanistan star leg-spinner Rashid Khan set an unwanted record with 0-110 in nine overs — the most expensive return at a World Cup and second costliest in all ODI cricket.
Morgan’s tally surpassed the record of 16 sixes in an ODI innings previously shared by India’s Rohit Sharma, South Africa’s AB de Villiers and West Indies’ Chris Gayle.
But one ball after launching Gulbadin Naib for the record-breaking six, Morgan holed out off the Afghanistan captain to end a 71-ball innings that also featured four fours. His 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 eight-wicket win over the West Indies, in which he could not bat.
Bairstow (90) got England off to a solid start after Morgan won the toss, with the home side accelerating after James Vince fell for 26 when he mishooked paceman Dawlat Zadran to short fine-leg.
Rank outsiders Afghan-istan, yet to win a game at this tournament, did not help themselves with some woeful outfielding. Bairstow was untroubled until, and in sight of his eighth ODI century, he chipped a return catch to Naib.
A visibly annoyed Bairstow walked off having been in command during a 99-ball innings that featured eight fours and three sixes.
Morgan settled in quickly, hitting Naib for two sixes including a fine hit over long-on. But the left-hander should have been out when he skied Rashid, only for Dawlat Zadran at deep midwicket to make such a mess of the catch....