Manchester: England captain Eoin Morgan set a new world record for most sixes in a one-day international innings as the World Cup hosts hammered Afghanistan by 150 runs.
Morgan hit 17 sixes in his career-best 148 at Old Trafford, with England’s total of 25 sixes — also a new world record — as they amassed a tournament high 397 for six.
Although Afghanistan refused to throw in the towel, the target was way to daunting as they finished their chase at 247 for eight.
Earlier, Morgan, dropped on 28, dominated a third-wicket stand of 189 with Joe Root (88), whose contribution to their partnership was 43.
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 ODIs.
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.
His innings, which featured 118 runs in boundaries, was all the more impressive as Morgan had been doubtful for this match with a back spasm suffered in England’s eight-wicket win over the West Indies, in which he could not bat. 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.
Afghanistan, yet to win a game, did not help themselves with some woeful outfielding. Bairstow was untroubled until 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, 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.