On this day in 2019, England white-ball captain Eoin Morgan decimated Afghanistan in a World Cup encounter by smoking 17 sixes, the most by an individual in an ODI. The left-hander went on to score a 71-ball 148 and helped England thrash Afghanistan by 150 runs. Morgan was at the crease for only 17 overs but that was enough for the England skipper, who on an average, smashed a six every fourth delivery. In the process, Morgan broke the previous record of 16 sixes in an ODI innings, which was jointly held by Rohit Sharma, AB de Villiers and Chris Gayle.
James Vince (31-ball 26) and Jonny Bairstow (99-ball 90) got England off to a decent start after Morgan won the toss and opted to bat first. The two added 44 runs for the first wicket before Vince was dismissed by Dawlat Zadran in the final over of the powerplay. Joe Root walked in at No. 3 and then put on 120 runs with Bairstow for the second wicket. England were 164 for 2 in 29.5 overs when Bairstow fell to Gulbadin Naib, and in came Morgan at No. 4.
England were moving along nicely but were still scoring at less than six runs per over when Morgan walked out to bat. The middle-order batsman took some time to settle in and only managed one run from his first seven deliveries. He did manage to smoke a couple of sixes in the next few deliveries and was even given a lifeline when he was on 28 off 25 deliveries. From there on, it was a complete bloodbath!
He had already clobbered two sixes in his first 25 deliveries but in the next 45 balls, Morgan managed to hit 15 more maximums and scored 120 runs. England amassed 198 in their final 15 overs, and 125 from their last eight, as Morgan became the first batsman in history to score a century of runs in sixes in an ODI. He also struck four fours but this knock was all about his 17 maximums. In total, England hit 25 maximums in their innings, the most in any ODI innings by a team.
Apart from Mujeeb Ur Rahman, every other Afghanistan bowler was smashed all around the park. Rashid Khan (9-0-110-0) registered the most expensive bowling figures at a World Cup and was hit for a record 11 sixes, seven of those coming from Morgan's bat, the most by a batsman off any bowler in an ODI. These are the most maximums conceded by a bowler in any international encounter since 1999. The legspinner leaked 74 in his last four overs. Overall, only Australia's Mick Lewis has conceded more runs - 113 - in an ODI.
Morgan dominated the 189-run stand with Root and the two helped England get past the 350-run mark in the 46th over, the same over in which Naib dismissed both the batsmen in the space of three deliveries. Moeen Ali then smoked four sixes and a four in his 9-ball 31* and propelled his team to 397/6 in their 50 overs, England's highest total in the World Cup.
"There are many guys in the dressing room who can produce an innings like that - but to match up to the youngsters is amazing. Never have I ever thought I could play a knock like that. The sixes record, along with the innings, are things I never thought I'd do," Morgan said afterwards.
In reply, Afghanistan knew from the start that they couldn't get anywhere near the target and paced their innings accordingly. They batted their entire 50 overs and managed 247/8, with Hashmatullah Shahidi scoring 76. For England, Jofra Archer and Adil Rashid picked up three wickets each.
This was Afghanistan's fifth defeat in the tournament and the Naib-led side went on to lose their remaining four encounters as well, while England went on to win their maiden World Cup title.