Tuesday 23 July 2019

Captain Morgan leads the way as records tumble

England's Eoin Morgan. Photo: Reuters
England's Eoin Morgan. Photo: Reuters

Nigel Whittaker

Eoin Morgan unleashed a furious, record-breaking assault as England overpowered Afghanistan by 150 runs at Old Trafford, hitting 17 sixes as his side took over top spot in the World Cup standings.

The England captain was a pre-match injury doubt having been laid low by a painful back spasm, but proved himself more than fit for purpose as he hammered his way into the history books with a merciless knock of 148 in just 71 balls.

Morgan broke new ground when he cleared the ropes for the final time - Chris Gayle, AB De Villiers and Rohit Sharma having all hit 16 in a one-day innings - leaving England on course for their highest ever World Cup total, 397 for six.

"I didn't think at any stage it was going to be my day," he said. "I'm getting quite old, hobbling about with a bad back.

"I never thought in my wildest dreams I could do something like that so it makes it a bit more special."

It was an astonishing display from the Dubliner, who was agonisingly dropped on 28 by Dawlat Zadran, and enough to make window dressing out Jonny Bairstow's 90 and Joe Root's 88.

Afghanistan batted admirably in response without ever threatening, leaving them on five consecutive defeats and allowing England to leapfrog Australia on net run-rate.

On paper the fixture was the biggest mismatch of the tournament - 10th against first in the world rankings - and the final margin reflected that gulf.

Meanwhile, Ed Joyce has been appointed interim coach of Ireland women and will spearhead their World T20 qualifying campaign after the departure of Aaron Hamilton, who is returning to his native Australia after four years in the role.

"I'm excited by the potential of this young squad," said Joyce, who has been coaching on a one-to-one basis since retiring last season.

"There were some encouraging performances during the West Indies series last month and that bodes well for the qualifiers later in the summer."

Irish Independent

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