Manchester: Scintillating skipper Eoin Morgan helped England beat Afghanistan by 150 runs in the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup match at the Old Trafford in Manchester on Tuesday.
Chasing a mammoth target of 398, Afghanistan suffered an early blow as Jofra Archer rattled the furniture of Noor Ali Zadran for a seven-ball duck. Afghanistan skipper Gulbadin Naib and Rahmat Shah rebuild the innings, however, it was cut short as Mark Wood got Naib (37) caught behind and ended a brief 48-run stand for the second wicket.
Hashmatullah Shahidi joined Rahmat and they added 52 runs before Adil Rashid gave another dent to Afghanistan as he dismissed Rahmat (46), who gave a catch to Jonny Bairstow at deep midwicket. Rashid returned and got hold of Asghar (44), breaking a 94-run partnership with Hashmatullah, and then dismissed Mohammad Nabi for nine, reducing Afghanistan to 210/5.
A well-settled Hashmatullah’s innings was ended by Archer, who bowled the Afghanistan batsman for 76. As he walked off the park, Hashmatullah seemed very disappointed. His innings saw five boundaries and two sixes. Soon after, Wood bagged his second wicket of the day in the name of Najibullah Zadran for 15. In the final over, Archer removed Rashid Khan for eight, and Ikram Alikhil and Dawlat Zadran were left stranded on three and zero, respectively.
Earlier, skipper Morgan played a magnificent knock of 148 runs off just 71 balls to propel England to the highest score of 397/6 in this tournament after electing to bat first.
Openers James Vince and Bairstow provided a steady start as the duo put on a partnership of 44 runs before Afghanistan got its first breakthrough when Vince was sent back to the pavilion in the 10th over by Dawlat Zadran.
Joe Root came out to bat next and continued his rich vein of form. He along with Bairstow put together a partnership of 124 runs, which saw the right-hander Bairstow bringing up his fifty. Bairstow missed out on his century as he was dismissed by Afghanistan skipper Naib on a return catch for 90, leaving England at 164/2.
Skipper Morgan joined Root and started playing in aggressive fashion from the very first ball he faced. Morgan provided the much-needed impetus to the England innings and Root played second fiddle to him. The England skipper brought up his century off just 57 balls, registering the fourth fastest century in the World Cup.
The left-hander Morgan continued to pile on the misery on the Afghanistan bowlers. However, Root (88) missed out on his hundred as he departed in the 47th over, ending the 189-run partnership between him and Morgan.
Morgan hit 17 sixes in his innings, recording the most number of sixes by a batsman in a single ODI. Afghanistan finally ended Morgan’s innings in the 47th over. Naib sent the England skipper back to pavilion after the latter played a knock of 148 runs off just 71 deliveries with a strike rate of 208.45.
Jos Buttler (2) and Ben Stokes (2) failed to leave a mark as they were dismissed in quick succession by Zadran. However, Moeen Ali ensured that England post a massive total on the board as he played a cameo of 31 runs off just nine balls to take the hosts past the 390-run mark.
England hit 25 sixes in their innings, recording the most number of sixes by a team in an ODI. Zadran and Naib scalped three wickets each for Afghanistan whereas Rashid Khan conceded 110 runs in his nine overs, becoming the most expensive leg-spinner to concede more than 100 runs in an ODI inning.
England will next take on Sri Lanka on June 21, while Afghanistan will face India on June 22.
Brief Scores: England 397/6 (Eoin Morgan 148, Joe Root 88, Gulbadin Naib 3-68, Dawlat Zadran 3-85) beat Afghanistan 247/8 (Hashmatullah Shahidi 76, Rahmat Shah 46, Jofra Archer 3-52, Adil Rashid 3-66) by 150 runs.