England skipper Eoin Morgan, and Jonny Bairstow and Joe Root to an extent, might have hogged all the limelight against Afghanistan on Tuesday (June 18) but paceman Mark Wood had his moments too.
The 29-year-old bowled with great pace and scalped two wickets. He once even hit Hashmatullah Shahidi on his helmet, leading to the Afghanistan batsman needing to be checked by medics before he was allowed to continue. Wood however showed no mercy and attacked Hashmatullah with a short delivery on the very next ball.
Wood revealed that it was Eoin Morgan who wanted him to keep bowling short to Hashmatullah.
“Well, I was concerned when I first hit him obviously. It was a bit of a bad blow and then it’s out of my hands really, you have to let the medical staff do their thing. I checked he was all right himself, said ‘are you okay?’ Then I was back in the game mode.
“Morgy wanted me to fire another few down. If that’s what the captain wants, you listen to orders. Once you know he’s all right, it’s game time again.”
Told that he had split Hashmatullah’s helmet with the pace of his delivery, Wood grinned: “I’m bowling them quite fast ….for a change!”
The day however belonged to Morgan who smoked 17 sixes on his way to 71-ball 148, helping England to amass a total of 397 for 6 in the first innings.
"It was amazing, amazing. I was delighted for him. Coming off his back injury scare and stuff, and not knowing how he would play or feel, I was just astounded by how well he played out there. He is a guy that can get on with it pretty quick. He has got shots around the wicket and he has got some little Irish fire power in him that whacks the ball over the boundary," beamed Wood.
“I was delighted for him. Coming off his back injury scare and stuff, and not knowing how he would play or feel, I was just astounded by how well he played out there.
“A lot of the bowlers tend to sit in the back of the dressing room and try and relax but even I came out and watched that because it was great to see on such a big occasion.
“I know we’ve played like this for four years now, and there’s been some remarkable things, but to do it in a World Cup game speaks volumes about how Eoin wants the team to play and the values we’ve kept going throughout those four years.”
Wood also had a word of praise for his fellow bowlers who had to face a different challenge against Afghanistan batsmen.
“It’s nice to go under the radar, I guess, a little bit. The batters can do the fireworks and we can go just go about the things we’ve been doing well. We’ve just got to keep that going now. I thought today, collectively, we bowled really well.
“It was difficult at times because I didn’t feel the Afghanistan batsmen were coming at us and we had to try to mix it up, get them to play a few shots. It might have leaked a few runs but all in all, it was nice to try something different and get a few wickets.”