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England have so many batsmen who are capable of smashing big hits, but a batsman was needed who could play a settled innings, stay till the end and Joe Root’s unbeaten 133 showed that maturity and class which took England to the finish line with eight wickets left in the match. Root was adjudged the man-of-the-match for his blistering knock.
Root looked very comfortable at the crease and played according to the situation. He focused on rotating strikes and played a classy knock which included 11 boundaries and a six. England chased 307 with three overs remaining in the match. Root stayed till the end ensuring a comfortable win for the hosts.
Root started his innings slowly, completing his half-century in 59 balls. But in the end he made up for his slow start, smashing his last 33 runs off just 14 balls.
“Whatever you throw at Joe Root, he proves that he can do it,” former England captain Alec Stewart said on the BBC’s Test Match Special. “He has mastered test cricket, 50-over and T20 cricket. Whenever England need him he scores runs. He plays safe shots and scores at a run a ball. That is all you can ask.”
Root maintained the required run-rate, he included one six in his entire innings which came off Rubel Hossain’s delivery. Opener Alex Hales played freely, hammering 95 off just 86 balls and later Eoin Morgan came to the party smashing 75 which included a 143-run partnership for the second wicket. Both Morgan and Hales could play their natural game as Root’s calming presence took all the pressure away from them.
“Joe is the glue in our side,” Morgan, said after England’s first win of the campaign at the Oval. “He really has scored a lot of runs in the last couple of years and continues to do it.”
Morgan later dismissed suggestions that Root was not capable of scoring big in limited overs format. “It’s not slow, it’s actually at pace,” Morgan said. “He has been working on his power hitting and today it paid off. He hit a few into the stands which was outstanding.”
England will face New Zealand in their next game in Cardiff on Tuesday.