Eoin Morgan felt he was incapable of producing the record-breaking 148 from 71 balls that ushered England to a crushing 150-run victory over Afghanistan and to the top of the World Cup standings on this day in 2019.
The England captain pulverised a world record 17 one-day international sixes out of a team total of 25, another new benchmark in the format, while his 57-ball ton was the fourth quickest in the tournament’s 44-year history.
Rohit Sharma, Chris Gayle and AB De Villiers cleared the boundary rope 16 times in an innings, but Morgan’s feat was even more remarkable as it came only days after he limped off against the West Indies with a back spasm.
Morgan hit during his innings against Afghanistan” data-source=””>
“Never have I ever thought I could play a knock like that. I’m delighted that I have,” Morgan said. “All the work over the last four years, over the course of my career, it all comes to the front now.
“The last four years I’ve probably played the best in my career. But that hasn’t involved the 50 or 60-ball hundred.”
Any lingering fears over Morgan’s back injury were subsequently allayed following a knock that relegated hefty contributions from Jonny Bairstow (90) and Joe Root (88) to footnotes in England’s 397 for six at Old Trafford.
Morgan was dropped on 28 in the deep by Dawlat Zadran off Rashid Khan, who came in for some heavy punishment from the Dubliner en route to miserable figures of 9-0-110-0.
Afghanistan were never likely to mount a serious challenge to the total as they crashed to a fifth successive defeat to remain rooted to the foot of the group-stage table. However, they managed to avoid being blown away and posted 247 for eight.
Morgan raced past Root in the 40th over, during which he became the eighth man to reach 200 ODI sixes. He converted 50 into 100 in just 21 deliveries, clearing the ropes three times in six Rashid Khan balls, and kept on swinging.
Morgan levelled the sixes record with back-to-back blows off Gulbadin, then brushed off Root’s dismissal by hitting a 17th hard over his fellow skipper’s head. He holed out next ball, finally falling short as he aimed over long-off.
England went on to be crowned world champions for the first time following a dramatic final against New Zealand at Lord’s that went to a Super Over and was eventually decided by boundary count.