Morgan hits record 17 sixes; England reaches 397-6 v Afghans

MANCHESTER (AP): England captain Eoin Morgan clobbered 148 from 71 balls including a Cricket World Cup-record 17 sixes against Afghanistan on Tuesday.

Morgan went to the crease in the 30th over at 164-2 and raised the total to 359 before his explosive innings ended with a catch on the boundary in the 47th over.

England finished with a flourish to post 397-6, including a record 25 sixes for a one-day international.

Morgan, who had been a doubtful starter because of back spasms, raised his half century from 36 balls with his fifth of the innings off Mohammad Nabi in the 39th over, and reached his century from 57 balls.

He beat Chris Gayle’s record of 16 sixes in an ODI for the West Indies against Zimbabwe in the 2015 World Cup, when he flat-batted Gulbadin Naib straight down the ground, but was caught in the deep on the next delivery from his opposing captain.

Morgan dominated a 189-run third-wicket partnership with Joe Root, who was 45 when his skipper arrived at the crease and was eventually out for 88 from 82 deliveries.

Some fielding errors cost Afghanistan dearly. None more than the dropped catch when Morgan was on 28 and pulled Rashid Khan out to deep midwicket, where Dawlat Zadran got one hand to the ball before it trickled to the boundary.

Morgan hit two more sixes in the over, and barely seemed to stop clearing the boundary in a game involving the tournament’s highest and lowest-ranked teams

He took 22 off one over against Rashid and generally dismantled Afghanistan’s best bowler, who conceded the worst ever figures in a World Cup of 9-0-110-0.

Morgan drove two sixes into the upper deck of the broadcasting box straight down the ground, and one clattered so heavily into the stand that the leather ball had to be replaced.

Morgan and Jason Roy didn’t bat last week in the eight-wicket win over West Indies because of injuries, with the skipper leaving the field with spasms and the opening batsman going off after tearing his left hamstring. Morgan recovered but Roy was ruled out of the two games this week.

Roy’s replacement, James Vince, scored 26 in a 44-run opening stand with Jonny Bairstow, who contributed 90 from 99 balls in a 120-run second-wicket stand with Root before he was caught-and-bowled by Afghanistan captain Gulbadin in the 30th over.