England looked back to their very best yesterday as they thrashed Afghanistan in a thriller at Old Trafford.
The host won the toss and elected to bat first. It was a frustrating start for England, who thought it would be plain sailing against a side without a win yet. Bairstow and Vince opened the batting, with both struggling to get going. Vince went out cheaply for 26 and Bairstow couldn’t get his strike rate past 80.
Root came in and added some runs but the innings really got going when Bairstow got caught for 90. In came the captain Eoin Morgan, who was an injury doubt after back spasms against the West Indies. England was on 164-2 at and in the 30th over and needed to really kick on to ensure there wasn’t an upset.
He started well but his time in the middle nearly came to an end when he was dropped easily on 28. Oh, how Afghanistan would come to rue this drop! After this lifeline, Morgan didn’t look back and took the game to Afghanistan. His 50 came up after 36 balls and then it only took him another 21 to turn it into a century.
— ESPNcricinfo (@ESPNcricinfo) 18 June 2019
Morgan didn’t stop there though. He kept going and end just shy of 150! He got caught out for 148 off of 71 balls. The game was pretty much done by this point with Root having got out two balls before for 90. Moeen Ali came in towards the end and hit 31 off of nine balls to take England’s final score to 397-6, the highest of this year’s World Cup so far.
Afghanistan came in with what seemed an impossible job. Bet365 had England priced at 1/1000 to win with their opponents at 100/1! To be fair to Afghanistan they gave it a good go and finished up on 247-8, 40 runs more than they have managed all competition.
- Morgan hit 17 sixes, the most ever in an ODI innings by one batter.
- England hit 25 sixes in total, the record for an ODI team in one inning.
- Morgans 57 ball century is the faster ever by an England player in a World Cup and the fourth fastest in World Cup history.
- England hit more sixes in one innings than in the whole of any World Cup competition before.
- 396-6 is Englands highest ever total in a World Cup match.
Obviously, it was a fantastic day for England and not so much for Afghanistan. But, no one had a tougher day than leg-spinner Rashid Khan. He went for 110 runs off nine overs and didn’t get a single wicket. This is the joint worst bowling record in ODI history and the worst ever in World Cup history.
— OptaJim (@OptaJim) 18 June 2019
England is top on level points with Australia but they have a better run rate than their rivals. India and New Zealand are both a point behind and have a game each to play. Up next for England is Sri Lanka on Friday, where it’s expected to be another two points with the hosts priced at 1/7 on Bet365.
Morgans men are now the favourites for the World Cup at 15/8 on Bet365, with India just behind on 2/1. England is still yet to face India, New Zealand and Australia but as long as they stay in the top four of the table they will go on to the semi-finals.
Apart from this weather, this Cricket World Cup has run very smoothly, unlike the 2022 World Cup in Qatar that is in controversy once again!