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Middle-order powers England to 328

by   •  Last updated on 2020-04-13 15:16:48

Ireland had merely recovered from the shellacking at the hands of England in the opening One-Day International and their decision to bowl as a method to alter the pattern, if not the result immediately, showed. The Irishmen were first kept at bay by Joe Root and Eoin Morgan's fifties before Jonny Bairstow ripped their bowling apart while in a partnership with Adil Rashid. Eventually, the hosts put up 328 on the board on Sunday(May 2), all but ensuring another massive win in the making.

On an overcast afternoon at Lord's, Ireland pacer Tim Murtagh began well by landing the ball in the right areas but the England openers Jason Roy and Alex Hales employed a solid approach to keep the bowler at bay. Negotiating what could have been a tricky period of play, both Roy and Hales hit seven boundaries in the first eight overs while scoring their runs at over five an over. While Murtagh kept things tidy from his end, Peter Chase leaked 32 runs in four overs to let the pressure drift from his end. Murtagh was rewarded for his discipline when he broke through the defenses of Hales, who looked to drive an inswinging ball and failed to connect. Having driven a similar ball for four on the previous occasion, Hales (32) let a big gap this time around for the stumps to be shattered.

As luck would have it, England lost their other opener in the space of two overs when Roy (20) went for a similar drive but to crack it straight to the fielder at cover off the bowling of Barry McCarthy. Just as Ireland could have applied the pressure on the hosts, the seasoned pairing of Morgan and Root got into business to keep the bowlers at bay for the next 20 odd overs. Morgan looked to be in the mood right from the word go as he stepped out to Kevin O'Brien to launch him over long on for his first six. As the southpaw continued to dominate with regular boundaries, Root took his time by rotating the strike well.

By the time, the sun came out and Root hit his second boundary, Morgan had had two fours and two sixes to his credit. As the Ireland skipper brought back his pacers and shuffled the bowling around, the English pair successfully maintained a good scoring rate, without having to put their foot on the pedal. In the 29th over of the innings, Root got to his fifty off 57 balls and a ball later, Morgan raised his fifty off 49 balls.

As soon as the landmarks were reached, Root cut loose hitting a few boundaries in consecutive overs while Morgan went after O'Brien yet again, hitting him for two back to back fours. However, Chase, who had been ordinary previously, struck when he sent Root back as the right-hander attempted to up the ante. Skipping out, the England Test skipper smashed one straight to mid off, falling for 73. A couple of overs later, the other set batsman departed as well, when he shuffled away to hit one over cover. Morgan (76) ended up handing a sharp chance to Ed Joyce, who didn't fluff it.

Sam Billings failed to last long but Rashid and Bairstow got together in a solid partnership first, before quickly changing that definition to a 'fiery' one, propelling England beyond the 300-run mark. Ireland kept rotating their bowlers in the back ten, however that didn't seem to deter Bairstow and Rashid from getting regular boundaries.

The last four overs leaked 61 runs as seven fours and three sixes were struck in the period. Bairstow batted like he was possessed, striking the ball clean to hit three sixes and two fours in the last couple of overs, to not just raise his fifty but also help England end with 328 for 6 in their 50 overs.

Brief Scores: England 328/6 in 50 overs (Eoin Morgan 76, Joe Root 73; Barry McCarthy 2-61) vs Ireland