Eoin Morgan surprised after stunning six-hitting World Cup display crushes Afghanistan

Eoin Morgan felt he was incapable of producing the record-breaking 148 from 71 balls that ushered England to a crushing 150-run victory over Afghanistan and to the top of the World Cup standings.

England's Eoin Morgan raises his bat after reaching a century at Old Trafford. Picture: Martin Rickett/PA

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Eoin Morgan smashes his way into record books as England send World Cup message ...

The England captain pulverised a world record 17 one-day international sixes out of a team total of 25, another new benchmark in the format, while his 57-ball ton is the fourth quickest in the tournament’s 44-year history.

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Rohit Sharma, Chris Gayle and AB De Villiers have cleared the boundary rope 16 times in an innings, but Morgan’s feat is even more remarkable as it came only days after he limped off against the West Indies with a back spasm.

England's Eoin Morgan pulls another six to the legside boundary at Old Trafford. Picture: Tim Goode/PA

Indeed, whether Morgan would take to the field at all was in question right up until the toss but he was elated with his efforts, particularly after proving he can compete with some of the best big-hitters on the international stage.

He said: “Never have I ever thought I could play a knock like that. I’m delighted that I have. All the work over the last four years, over the course of my career, it all comes to the front now.

“The last four years I’ve probably played the best in my career. But that hasn’t involved the 50- or 60-ball hundred.

“I’ve scored one at Middlesex, so 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.

“Coming at a time when it was a 50-50 shout whether myself or Jos (Buttler) went in probably helped that because after I’d faced a few balls I had no choice. I had to start taking risks because of him coming in next.

“I think I’m probably just becoming a target for 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. Tough school!”

He added: “The back feels good. I’m absolutely delighted with the way it’s come through like that, particularly with the fielding. Those were the bigger worries, turning and diving and all sorts.”