World Cup 2019: England win after brave resistance from Afghans

MANCHESTER (Sports Desk): England thrashed Afghanistan by 150 runs but not before a brave resistance from the cricketing minnows who fought back courageously to chase a huge total in the 24th match of the ICC World Cup 2019 here at Old Trafford on Tuesday. Chasing 398, the biggest target of the current tournament, Afghanistan accepted the challenge and batted for all the 50 overs to score 247 for seven. Earlier, England captain Eoin Morgan set a new world record for most sixes in a one-day international innings as the World Cup hosts piled up 397 for six in against Afghanistan on Tuesday. Morgan hit 17 sixes in his career-best 148, with England´s total of 25 sixes also a new world record. Morgan, dropped on 28, dominated a third-wicket stand of 189 with Joe Root (82), whose contribution to their partnership was a mere 33. Afghanistan star leg-spinner Rashid Khan set an unwanted record with 0-110 in nine overs — the most expensive return at a World Cup and second costliest in all ODI cricket. Morgan´s tally surpassed the record of 16 sixes in an ODI innings previously shared by India´s Rohit Sharma, South Africa´s AB de Villiers and West Indies´ Chris Gayle. But one ball after launching Gulbadin Naib for the record-breaking six, Morgan holed out off the Afghanistan captain to end a 71-ball innings that also featured four fours. Jonny Bairstow (90) got England off to a solid start after Morgan won the toss, with the home side accelerating after James Vince fell for 26 when he mishooked paceman Dawlat Zadran to short fine-leg. Rank outsiders Afghanistan, yet to win a game at this tournament, did not help themselves with some woeful outfielding. Bairstow was untroubled until, and in sight of his eighth ODI century, he chipped a return catch to Naib. A visibly annoyed Bairstow walked off having been in command during a 99-ball innings that featured eight fours and three sixes. Morgan settled in quickly, hitting Naib for two sixes including a fine hit over long-on. But the left-hander should have been out when he skied Rashid Khan only for Dawlat Zadran at deep midwicket to make such a mess of the catch that the ball bounced out of his hands and over the rope for four. It was a costly error, with Morgan immediately hitting a soaring six. He cleared the boundary again in a 36th over that cost 18 runs. But the sixes kept coming, with Moeen Ali setting a new team record when he launched the penultimate delivery of the innings, from Dawlat, over long-on. England: Jonny Bairstow, James Vince, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan (capt), Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler (wkt), Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes, Adil Rashid, Jofra Archer, Mark Wood Afghanistan: Noor Ali Zadran, Gulbadin Naib (capt), Rahmat Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Asghar Afghan, Mohammad Nabi, Najibullah Zadran, Ikram Alikhil (wkt), Rashid Khan, Dawlat Zadran, Mujeeb Ur Rahman

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