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Cricket World Cup matchday 21: The Eoin gets tough as England set the benchmark

New Zealand and South Africa pick up the baton after a masterclass from the England captain.

Eoin Morgan’s performance drew warm applause at Old Trafford (Tim Goode/PA)
Eoin Morgan’s performance drew warm applause at Old Trafford (Tim Goode/PA)

Eoin Morgan unleashed a furious, record-breaking assault as England overpowered Afghanistan by 150 runs in game 24 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.

New Zealand have the opportunity to make the home side’s stay at the summit a short one when they take on South Africa at Edgbaston, where victory would give them a one-point lead.

Quote of the day

This is a quarter-final, I guess you could say it. Obviously, it's a big game for us but they are all going to be big games for us for the rest of the tournament Quinton de Kock

The Proteas wicketkeeper knows there is no room for error after a poor start to the tournament.

Tweet of the day

Posted shortly before Morgan started teeing off with abandon, Kevin Pietersen pointed out the enviable talent at England’s disposal. Yorkshire pair Jonny Bairstow and Joe Root made hefty contributions but the headlines went to the skipper, who set new benchmarks for most sixes in an ODI innings and the fastest hundred by an England batsman in the World Cup.

World Cup snapshot

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Afghanistan’s fielders were left regularly craning their necks skywards amid a barrage of blows from Eoin Morgan (Martin Rickett/PA)

Hit for six

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(PA Graphic)

Hot shot

Where to start? Morgan’s one-man assault on the Afghan attack contained a barrage of fearsome blows and any one of a dozen would be a worthy candidate. It may feel arbitrary to hold one above the rest but, only for circumstantial relevance, let it be his record-breaking 17th six. Joe Root had just been dismissed from the previous ball when Gulbadin Naib floated one up on a full length and was crunched back over his head, with the ball thumping the advertising pads on the boundary rope.

Tournament tracker

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PA Graphic

Money ball

The affable Mark Wood showed his spiteful side to Naib, who had taken Jofra Archer for three successive boundaries in making a decent start to a chase that was always going to be insurmountable. Wood came into the attack for Archer and in his first over a searing 92mph bouncer went hurtling towards Naib’s head. The Afghanistan captain was only able to get a top edge which led to wicketkeeper Jos Buttler sprinting to short fine leg to take an excellent diving catch.

Top run-scorers

  1. Shakib Al Hasan (Ban) - 384
  2. Joe Root (Eng) - 367
  3. Aaron Finch (Aus) - 343

What’s next?

New Zealand v South Africa, Edgbaston (10.30)

One to watch

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Trent Boult is lying in wait for the Proteas (Simon Cooper/PA)

Trent Boult has had a quiet start to the competition, taking three wickets for 122 and drawing a blank against Afghanistan. The left-armer is too good to be kept off centre stage indefinitely, though, and will arrive in Birmingham eager to deliver a decisive performance for his side. When he gets on a roll things can happen in a hurry.

Standings

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PA Graphic

PA

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