England showed once again why they are being considered as one of the favourites this World Cup as they defeated Afghanistan by 150-runs and reached the top of the group stage table at Manchester on Tuesday.
Captain Eoin Morgan led the charge as he scored a brutal 148 off just 71 balls in an innings that included 17 sixes, the most ever by a player in World Cups as well as in ODIs, as England piled on this tournament’s highest score, posting 397/6 after 50 overs.
After winning the toss and deciding to bat, England started quietly as Mujeeb Ur Rahman, who came back into the Afghanistan side, kept a tight line and length.
While Jonny Bairstow started to play some aggressive strokes, James Vince, who was playing his first match this World Cup got dismissed to a Dawlat Zadran bouncer for 26.
In came Joe Root and the attacking, enterprising batting we have been accustomed to from England resumed. They started to build a solid partnership and took the score to 164 before Bairstow was caught and bowled by Afghan captain Gulbadin Naib after scoring 90.
Eoin Morgan soon joined Root and in an effort to up the run scoring, he gave a few chances early in his innings.
Dawlat Zadran misjudged a catching chance at deep-midwicket off the bowling of Rashid Khan that would have seen the back of Morgan.
But instead, he then made the Afghans pay and past 350 before Root fell for 88 in the 47th over.
The innings would still finish with more carnage from the English batsmen as Moeen Ali came in and scored a nine ball 31 to take the game well beyond the opponents’ reach.
Afghanistan didn’t start their innings well as they lost the wicket of Noor Ali Zadran for a duck as he was bowled by Jofra Archer, who was too fast for most of the Afghan batsmen.
Captain Gulbadin Naib though started to play some shots and smashed the first three balls in the sixth over of the innings by Archer for two fours and a six.
Gulbadin was eventually dismissed by Mark Wood after scoring 37 from 28 balls.
With the required run rate getting out of hand, Rahmat Shah and Hashmatullah Shahidi dug in and took the score past 100 before Shah tried to slog Adil Rashid to break the shackles and eventually was caught in the deep for 46.
Asghar Afghan and Shahidi then produced the best part of the Afghanistan innings with a 94-run stand before Afghan was dismissed for 44 by Adil Rashid.
The Innings then started to fall apart as the Morgan brought the quicks - Archer and Wood - back in the attack.
Archer took the key wicket of Shahidi, who top scored with 76 and the Afghans eventually finished with 247/8 in their 50 overs.
The win takes England to eight points from five games but a stronger net run rate helps them overtake their arch-rivals, Australia at the top of the table.
New Zealand and India are on the third and fourth spot with seven points a piece but they have one match in hand.
The Afghans stay winless from five games and are bottom of the table.
- 25 Sixes hit by England in their innings - the most in any ODI innings by a team. They beat their own previous record of 24 sixes, which they achieved against West Indies in Grenada earlier this year.
- 11 Sixes conceded by Rashid Khan - the most by a bowler in an ODI. These are also the most sixes conceded by a bowler in any international match since 1999.
- 110 Runs conceded by Rashid in this match - the most by any bowler in a World Cup match. This dubious record was previously held by New Zealand's Martin Snedden, who had conceded 105 runs from 12 overs against England in the 1983 World Cup.
- 7 Sixes hit off Rashid by Morgan in this match - the most by a batsman off any bowler in an ODI. In many other instances, bowlers have conceded six sixes in an innings to one batsman. Jason Holder deserves a mention here for suffering the fate twice at the hands of AB de Villiers.