Never thought I could play a knock like that: Morgan on six-hitting record

Manchester, Jun 19 (PTI) England skipper Eoin Morgan, who smashed a world record 17 sixes in his side’s 150-run crushing of Afghanistan in a World Cup game, said he never thought a knock like that could come from his bat.

Morgan blasted an incredible 17 sixes — the most in ODI history — during his game-changing knock of 148 at Old Trafford Tuesday, breaking the previous record of 16 held jointly by AB de Villiers, Chris Gayle and Rohit Sharma.

His knock helped England post 397/6 — their highest in any World Cup — and they eventually recorded a 150-run triumph to return to the top of the table.

“Never have I ever thought I could play a knock like that but I’m delighted that I have. It’s weird. It’s very strange to have that sixes record. It’s something, along with the innings, I never thought I’d do. It’s a nice place to be,” he said after the match on Tuesday.

“The last four years, I’ve probably played the best in my career but that hasn’t involved a 50 or 60-ball hundred. I thought I would have it in the locker somewhere but it’s never happened, so I sort of gave up on it a little bit,” said the 32-year-old batsman.

Morgan brought up his century off 57 balls, although that was 11 slower than Jos Buttler’s England record of 46 deliveries against Pakistan in 2015 — meaning the skipper does not have complete ownership of bragging rights. That was why he said his England teammates still won’t be impressed by the six-hitting feat.

“I think I’m probably just becoming a target for the guys in the changing room to take down. The hundred I scored is considered a slow one in our changing room guys talk about it all the time. So it’s a tough school!” Morgan said in lighter vein.

“When I came to the crease, it was a 50/50 shout whether myself or Jos (Buttler) went in and that probably helped because after I faced a few balls, I had no choice. I had to start taking risks because of him coming in next and then after I got dropped (on 28), it was a matter of just keep going. It was one of those days.”

Morgan’s knock was made more remarkable by the fact that he struggled with back spasms during the last game against West Indies and had to face a late fitness test in order to play against Afghanistan.

Morgan also praised his pace attack, headlined by Jofra Archer taking 3/52 and Mark Wood an impressive 2/40 from ten overs.

“They were very good on a wicket that did not offer a great deal. It had good bounce and turned a bit for the spinners but seam movement or swing it had none. So when guys execute hitting a good length and using their bounce well, it is satisfying because it’s very hard to do,” said the captain.

“When the ball doesn’t move around, it obviously means your pace is important and all three guys’ (Wood, Archer and Chris Woakes) pace looked good.