Under Eoin Morgan, a rejuvenated team turned their game around and broke a string of records.
Since their first-round exit in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, England drastically changed their approach to the limited-overs game. It has now paid off, with the team climbing to No.1 for the first time since January 2013 in the MRF Tyres ICC ODI Team Rankings.
England overtook India in the latest rankings, and they will want to maintain their position ahead of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 at home.
In 2014-15, England won seven of 25 ODIs against other Full Members. But since then, they have triumphed in 41 of 63 ODIs they have played. They really hit their straps from the 2016 season onwards, when they broke several records in the matches against Sri Lanka and Pakistan.
Under Eoin Morgan, the team began to bat deep and embraced a style where they attacked right from the start. From June 2015, they’ve improved their scoring rate to 6.21 an over, and have nine scores of 350 or more. Before this, they had reached 350 only twice.
In their new fearless avatar, they also chased better than ever before, with four of their top five successful chases coming since the last World Cup.
Three of the team’s top five highest individual scores have also come in this time, with Jason Roy appearing twice. It’s another marker of how crucial their openers have been in getting them off to flyers.
Here are a few matches that best exemplified their approach – one from each year since the last World Cup.
Confident in the chase
England v New Zealand, Trent Bridge, 17 June 2015
In the second game of the series, England fell 13 short in a chase of 399. But in the fourth, having only twice before scored 300 in a successful chase, they made easy work of New Zealand’s 349/5, getting there with six overs to spare. A 198-run partnership between Morgan and Joe Root, who both notched up hundreds, helped the home side level an electric, high-scoring series 2-2, before claiming the deciding win in the next game.
All-time highest ODI score
England v Pakistan, Trent Bridge, 30 August 2016
England’s 444/3 at Trent Bridge rewrote records for the highest ODI score. Alex Hales led the demolition job with 171 from 122 balls, an innings that included 22 fours and four sixes. It was then the highest ODI score by an Englishman. Jos Buttler slammed seven sixes and as many fours in his 51-ball 90*, getting to his fifty off just 22 balls. Morgan, meanwhile, struck at over 200 in his 27-ball 57*. In the midst of the carnage, Root’s 85 off 86 looked mercurial as the home side completed a 169-run win.
|444/3||England||Pakistan||Nottingham, 30 August 2016|
|443/9||Sri Lanka||The Netherlands||Amstelveen, 4 July 2006|
|439/2||South Africa||Windies||Johannesburg, 18 January 2015|
Strong group of all-rounders
England v South Africa, Headingley, 24 May 2017
England’s ability to bat deep is thanks to an enviable set of all-rounders, including Ben Stokes, Moeen Ali and Chris Woakes. In this match, against one of the strongest opponents England faced, Woakes didn’t get much with the bat as England scored 339/6, but had four wickets with the ball as South Africa were bowled out for 267. Ali, though, added two wickets to his 77 runs as England established themselves as one of the favourites going into the ICC Champions Trophy at home.
Roy drives away Ashes blues
Australia v England, Melbourne Cricket Ground, 14 January 2018
After a woeful Ashes in Australia in 2018, England benefited from a change in personnel and format. Jason Roy struck 180 from the top of the order, doing the bulk of the heavy lifting as the visitors chased down Australia’s 304/8 with five wickets and seven balls to spare. His knock, the highest ever by an English batsman, included 16 fours and five sixes. It was the highest successful chase at the MCG.
|180||Jason Roy||v Australia - 14 January 2018, Melbourne|
|171||Alex Hales||v Pakistan - 30 August 2016, Nottingham|
|167*||Robin Smith||v Australia - 21 May 1993, Birmingham|
“England's got to be up there as one of the best teams in the world in one-day cricket at the moment,” said an admiring Steve Smith after that loss. England would wrap up the series 4-1, and the latest rankings suggest Smith's thoughts were bang on.
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