On Monday Eoin Morgan was a doubt for England’s Cricket World Cup clash with Afghanistan, but by Tuesday evening he was a national hero.
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Brung low by a back spasm against the West Indies on Friday, England’s captain Morgan bounced back to leave the hapless Afghans punch drunk after an extraordinary knock that rewrote the record books.
England eventually posted 397-6, with Moeen Ali striking 31 off nine balls at the death. Afghanistan had no chance of overhauling that total, and finished their innings on 247-8 as England recorded one of their biggest-ever one-day international (ODI) victories.
The valuable contributions of Jonny Bairstow (90), Joe Root (88) and Jofra Archer (3-52) to the England cause will soon be forgotten but Morgan’s knock will live long in the memory.
He said: “I didn’t think at any stage it was going to be my day. Getting quite old, running around with a bad back, I never thought in my wildest dreams I’d produce an innings like that.”
His innings was “utterly breathtaking” says Ali Martin in The Guardian. Martin said:
“Amid this latest display of carnage came a remarkable demolition job on Rashid Khan, the uber-talented wrist-spinner who tears up the Twenty20 leagues and sat atop the ODI bowling rankings less than a year ago, but must now chew on career-worst figures of nine overs, none for 110.”
In The Times Michael Atherton says it was a statement of intent. Former England captain Atherton wrote: “There comes a point in a player’s career when he recognises the moment and senses his destiny. For Eoin Morgan, that time has come.
“It is Morgan who continues to drive his team’s vaulting ambition, scaling heights rarely seen when he eviscerated Afghanistan’s bowling attack with a blistering career-best one-day international hundred that included 17 sixes, more than anyone has hit in an ODI before.”
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