Sixy Beasts

Yesterday went pretty much as expected really. England were far too good for Afghanistan, it was always going to be thus, and the result was never in any doubt whatsoever. One could possibly argue that England’s innings started a tad slowly, but we were never really under pressure, and I doubt the opposition would have chased anything near 300 anyway.

I don’t like mis-matches as a general rule, but at least this one seduced like a gala bingo offer. England hit 25 sixes in their total of 397 – an international record for ODIs – and Eoin Morgan beat the record for sixes by an individual in an innings too. His 17 sixes in an innings of 148 in 71 balls was quite simply brutal. Rashid Khan, who conceded 110 runs in his 9 overs (another record), must have wondered what hit him. So much for Eoin’s sore back!

The one thing that struck me during England’s assault, which yielded almost 200 runs in the last 15 overs, was that it was a bit like watching a Mike Tyson fight back in the day. You knew that Iron Mike was going to win; it was simply a matter of how much punishment his opponent was going to take. A few winces later it was usually over. And one couldn’t help but feel sorry for the poor sod lying on the canvas. At least he’d been well paid, however. Something, I doubt, Afghanistan’s players are.

So what did we learn from yesterday’s massacre – other than the fact that the broadcasters’ hyperbole knows no bounds? Once again I’m left scratching my head. We’re still waiting for this tournament to heat up, and it might not get much beyond tepid until the semi finals now. I’ll be amazed in anyone other than England, India, New Zealand, and Australia qualify for the semis now.

At least the crowd got some entertainment for their money yesterday. They must have been relieved that England won the toss and elected to bat, otherwise the game might have been over quite quickly. Afghanistan’s innings, however, was a bit of a non-event. Their only ambition was to bat out the overs and keep us in the field for the full 50 overs – something that would be frowned upon in club circles.

One can understand their desire to keep the score looking respectable in the circumstances though. And England probably bowled too short to dismiss them any sooner. The result was a kind of stalemate whereby people were simply waiting around for the game to end. All of England’s bowlers bowled ok, although I’m still not convinced that Adil Rashid is firing on all cylinders. His shoulder injury is a bit of a worry.

The day, however, will always be remembered as Eoin Morgan’s day. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, that we often forget how good the skipper is because he’s surrounded by sexier names. Everyone wants to see Buttler, Stokes, and Roy, but they forget that Morgan has an ODI record that’s up there with the best: over 7,000 runs at an average of 40 and a strike-rate of 91. That’s quality in any era.

I just wish news journalists covering the World Cup, who obviously don’t know the first thing about cricket, would stop bloody calling him Owen Morgan. Do some basic research you numskulls. His name is Eoin. And he’s Irish, not Welsh.

James Morgan

Written in collaboration with BR Agency


  • I was out, so missed the carnage, unfortunately.

    SA v. NZ might be closer Watching it at the moment. My instincts are to support NZ (I thought the test series a couple of years back was great, and played in such a friendly manner), but it might be advantageous for England if SA won this one.

  • Looks like NZ might win this one too.

    By the way, I don’t think we’ve ever had fewer comments for an England game! It was a bit of an irrelevant game I guess. I was tempted not to even write a report. I didn’t send an email out to subscribers so that could be one reason I suppose.

    • Think it is a reflection how utterly boring, prolonged and useless the group stage is James. A World Championship watching paint dry might be more exciting than this.

      We have 20 more warmups to go, before we finally get 3 games that matter. After that the tournament is finally done, and Dave Richardson can tell us how much better this tournament has been than the 2015 edition.

      • My friend and I were discussing the same topic this evening. Would knock out from the start be better? Do you go back to 2 groups of 5 and top 2 go through to semis? Does washout fixtures in that format make it more of a farce?

        I live in middle east and a Pakistani colleague asked me why its in England where weather does not help this kind of tournament and I guess the answer is simply money where we in England can charge the most for tickets and have a chance of filling stadiums…? I just hope that cricket is coming home!!!

    • We have still to play India, NZ and Australia*. I hope that we aren’t getting ahead of ourselves.

      *and Sri Lanka, of course.

      • England have avoided all the in form teams in the tournament so far and lost one game to an out of form team and completely smashed others so it’s hard to judge how good they actually are until they play India, Aus and NZ.

        It hardly matters for making the semifinals though. Just determines which matchups once you get there. After nz beat SA yesterday and if Aus beat Bangladesh tonight as expected, its pretty much impossible to see the top 4 as anything other than India, England Australia, New Zealand.

  • Afghanistan could not have been more perfectly set up to have this kind of tonking. How many matches have they had against the eight top qualifiers since the last WC? A grand total of nine. How many of those were in countries where seam usually predominates? Not a single one. They struggle against Archer (and Cummins and Bumrah) when the fastest they see is Boyd Rankin? What a surprise! Giving them no matches between tournaments then making them play nine matches in a tournament regardless of how they’re going is the worst of all worlds.

    The match between SA and NZ was an enjoyable old school ODI because the pitch had something for the bowlers (not much but just enough). If a ground offers this for an England match that might slightly matter, will the ECB’s response be: a) Fair enough – world champions should prove themselves on different surfaces, or b) You’ll be a car park within a decade?

  • This was a proper game of 50 over cricket, unlike yesterday’s extended T20 slogathon. And as Simon says above World Champions should be able to perform in all conditions. England may prove to be to one dimensional if they get a pitch like this. If their roads we’ve probably just got the firepower to win, even against the better bowling attacks of India and Australia. Must, really must, play Tom Curran though, best finisher around. We couldn’t actually bowl out the Afghans yesterday, albeit many had gone home by then.

  • Couldn’t even bowl out Afghanistan… lol

    Great ball striking from Morgan but my god how boring a game.

    Loved the wicket for sa vs nz.. much more interesting game.. life needed in wickets as this extended 2020 is boring. Crowds are nowhere near full either even though the media are spouting crap about it being full and sold out

  • Reading the Daily Mail’s coverage of Morgan (somebody has to!) is like reading the scribblings of some lovesick tweenie about their favourite pop star or film hero.

    Which paper wrote that keeping Morgan as ODI captain was the only mistake Strauss made in 2015? Which wanted him dropped because 1) he stayed at the IPL rather than appear for an ODI in Ireland 2) he doesn’t sing the national anthem 3) he didn’t go to Bangladesh?

    Obviously, if England are successful, the answer is to read what the Daily Mail cricket pages advise – and do the opposite.

  • The Irishman Owen Morgan (as confirmed by James) is the English captain, Barbados born Joffra Archer is a key fast bowler. and both were raised in the country of their birth. It sure is handy having Mum or Dad born in the UK…

  • “I asked a kid after the game whether he enjoyed that six fest or would rather there was a better balance between bat and ball. ‘No, I love sixes’ he said”.

    Simon Hughes releasing the ECB’s research for the 16.66 on Twitter this morning…

  • Well the NZ v AS game yesterday was the best I’ve seen in the competition. Proper contest, and better than watching Morgan teeing off for two hours any day of the week.

  • Jasprit Bumrah saying what anyone with eyes can see, “In white ball cricket, since I’ve been playing, England has the flattest wickets, it’s the most difficult place for a bowler. Usually, there is no help, sometimes it feels that when it’s cloudy the ball swings but it doesn’t swing, nor does it seam”.

    Is a game where someone like Pat Cummins is reduced to a 10-0-65-0 player really worth saving? Because Simon Hughes found a kid who loves sixes? At least when golf equipment allowed massive drives the courses were lengthened to compensate – cricket just shortens the boundaries and gets its media stooges to proclaim how we should all be thrilled. BTW, the last WC in Australia was just as bad but the matches played in NZ provided the variety – since then the big boys have decided to scrap shared-hosting and take all that lovely dosh and control for themselves (some of these matches should be in Ireland – plus possibly Scotland and the Netherlands – but of course they aren’t)..

    It’s clear how orchestrated all this is. They’ve developed an understanding of how to control conditions. Pitches and balls must be the key because overhead conditions remain as variable. All that stuff over the years about humidity and swing must be nonsense because there have been run gluts on humid days in this tournament. It also means that Tests where the balls swing round corners and are over in three days are deliberately orchestrated. This doesn’t mean mistakes won’t occasionally be made in preparing pitches.

    It’s been even worse for the spinners. Sixteen bowlers currently have 6 wickets or more and only two are spinners (Tahir and Chahal). Teams whose attacks depend on spin haven’t had a prayer which is one reason why games have been so predictable.

    The moment that encapsulated eveything that’s wrong was in the IvP game where Pandya played a one-handed swipe at a bouncer and top-edged it over the keeper and a 60m boundary for six. The bowler showed the better skills but the batsman was rewarded.

    • Made worse for Afghanistan by the fact that they have played 0 ODIs in pacers’ conditions since the last World Cup. Bangladesh last toured England in 2010 (and were not that bad in the ODIs, even then). Both those teams have been set up to fail.

      But rest assured, when Quality Assurance Officer Dave Richardson has recovered from all the excitement this Snoozefest, sorry, World Cup has provided, I am sure it will be cut down to six teams.


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