Joe Root is the “most complete batsman” England has ever produced, according to Twenty20 captain Eoin Morgan.
The Yorkshireman, 25, hit a match-winning 83 off 44 deliveries as England chased 230 to beat South Africa by two wickets at the World T20 in India.
“He’s incredible,” Morgan told BBC Sport. “It was a monumental innings.
“His class and composure, knowing he can play as if it was a 50-over game or Test, without changing his game a great deal, gives us huge confidence.”
Root has amassed 3,406 runs in 72 Test innings for England, at an average of 54.93. He has a best of 200 not out and has hit nine centuries and 39 half centuries.
In one-day internationals, he has scored eight centuries and 12 half centuries in 64 innings at a strike rate of 84.46 per 100 balls – his total of 2,572 runs have come at an average of 44.34.
He is yet to score a century in T20 cricket, but his third half century on Friday took his totals to 476 from 14 innings, at an average of 39.66, with a highest score of 90 not out. Crucially, he scores at a strike rate of 140.82.
An incredible game
South Africa’s 229-6 had been the second-highest World T20 score before England bettered it with two balls to spare in their innings.
“It was an incredible game of cricket,” added Morgan. “I feel lucky to have been a part of it. It was certainly the best chase I’ve ever been a part of in any cricket shirt. Everybody contributed and that’s what made it so special.”
Jason Roy helped set the platform with a blistering 43 from 16 deliveries, which included three sixes and five fours.
Jos Buttler scored 21 in a crucial 75-run fifth-wicket partnership that took England from 111-4 to 186-5 and, although Root was out with 11 needed for victory, Moeen Ali steered England home.
Bowlers have work to do
Morgan was not completely happy with England’s performance, though, after the bowlers conceded more than 11 runs an over.
“I wasn’t happy, absolutely not,” he said. “We did well to drag it back to 229, which doesn’t say a great deal.
“Moving from venue to venue will increase our margin of error, Mumbai is a bit of a bowlers’ graveyard.
“We’ll need to adapt as quickly as we can because Delhi is quite short straight so it might mean we play an extra spinner.”
What next for England?
Before flying out to Delhi for England’s next game against Afghanistan, Morgan added: “Last night creates a certain amount of belief and you need that in a tournament like this.
“We are far from favourites but we know if we can perform on the day we can take any side deep. But we can be unpredictable which can be dangerous in this form of the game.”