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Wisden at CWC19

When Morgan embarked on the biggest six-hitting spree in international cricket – Almanack

Eoin Morgan v Afghanistan
Lawrence Booth by Lawrence Booth
@the_topspin 2 minute read

It was sixes galore in Manchester when England took on Afghanistan, with Eoin Morgan shattering the record for the most in an innings as England romped to their fourth World Cup 2019 win. Lawrence Booth penned it all down for the 2020 Wisden Almanack.

England v Afghanistan
Match 24, ICC Cricket World Cup 2019
Old Trafford, Manchester
June 18, 2019

Untroubled by his dodgy back, and obliged to go for it after choosing not to promote Buttler, Morgan embarked on the biggest six-hitting spree in the history of international cricket. There were 17 in total, all between long-off and mid-wicket, all out of the middle; he later admitted he didn’t think he had the innings in him.

On a less-than-fluent pitch, England had been aiming for 280–290, but Morgan’s assault meant they could target 400. Among Afghanistan’s bowlers, only Mujeeb Zadran’s clever off-breaks were spared, while Rashid Khan’s leg-spin suffered most. Having never conceded more than two sixes in an ODI innings, he went for a world-record 11; seven were by Morgan, a record for one batsman against one bowler, though Rashid ought to have dismissed him for 28, only for Dawlat Zadran to misjudge the catch at deep mid-wicket.

Rashid’s nine overs cost 110. Morgan’s eventual 148 from 71 balls was the highest of his 13 ODI centuries, and overshadowed two near misses: 90 from Bairstow (opening with Vince because Jason Roy had hamstring trouble) and 88 from Root. A nine-ball 31 from Ali, recalled in place of Liam Plunkett, took England’s tally of sixes to 25, another world record, and more than they had hit in total at any previous World Cup. The last 20 overs produced 233.

Noor Ali Zadran dragged on for a duck against Archer, but England missed the chance to run through Afghanistan when Bairstow at slip dropped Rahmat Shah on six off Woakes. Instead, the batsmen knuckled down, while Hashmatullah Shahidi overcame a nasty blow on the helmet from Wood to make 76, ignoring medical advice to leave the field because he didn’t want to concern his family. When the Afghans survived 50 overs for the first time in the tournament, it was a crumb of comfort on a day when England tucked in.

First published in the 2020 Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack

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