Skipper Eoin Morgan heaped praise on centurion Joe Root after England completed the highest run-chase in tournament history as their Champions Trophy began with an eight-wicket victory over Bangladesh at the Kia Oval.
Set 306 to win, Root’s unbeaten knock of 133 – his 10th one-day international ton – underpinned England’s reply, while opener Alex Hales struck 95 and Morgan finished on 75 not out.
The competition favourites won with 16 balls to spare, although they were made to work by Bangladesh who posted 305-6 from their 50 overs after opener Tamim Iqbal struck 128 and Mushfiqur Rahim 79.
“Joe is the glue in our side,” said Morgan. “He really has scored a lot of runs for us over the last couple of years and he continues to do it. It’s not slow, neither, it’s actually at pace.
“He’s been working a lot on his power-hitting and today it paid off, he hit a few into the stands which is outstanding.”
Root and Morgan shared 143 for the third wicket, while the Yorkshireman showed deftness and intelligence to post his highest ever score in a one-day showdown.
“It was very satisfying to get the hundred and the team over the line,” said Root. “It is what you strive for as a batter in the side to make a big contribution and be not out at the end.
“It is a great statement of intent and it fills us with confidence going into the next game. It is a really good start and something to build on.”
All-rounder Ben Stokes, who required a pre-match fitness test following a knee injury, managed to bowl seven overs, although Chris Woakes only sent down two before leaving the field with a side strain. Root also appeared to incur a calf problem.
“Probably Chris is the biggest worry at the moment and is going to go for a scan,” added Morgan. “It doesn’t feel right. He went straight off the field and didn’t come back on. The rest of the guys aren’t a major worry.”
England, who have never won a global 50-over trophy, will have a firm grasp on semi-final qualification should they beat New Zealand in Cardiff on Tuesday.
But they did not have everything their own way in the field and seamer Jake Ball, who was surprisingly preferred to leg-spinner Adil Rashid, went at more than eight an over.
Root’s Yorkshire teammate Liam Plunkett claimed 4-59 from his 10-over allocation, including the pivotal wicket of century-maker Tamim, who clashed with Stokes after reacting to the Durham man’s sledging.
While Hales, Root and Morgan all scored heavily, there was no end to Jason Roy’s slump in form as he was dismissed for one by Bangladesh skipper Mashrafe Mortaza. Roy has now scored just 35 runs in his last six one-day innings for England.
But a second-wicket stand of 159 compensated for Roy misfiring. Hales, however, missed out on what would have been a sixth one-day hundred for his country when he was caught on the leg-side boundary.