Maybe, from a global perspective, the tournament could have done with a tight game. Maybe, from a global perspective, it could even have done with a shock.

From an England perspective, however, this was a gloriously one-sided encounter. It was wonderfully uncompetitive. It was reassuringly drama-free. Despite the potential for an upset - the skill of the Afghanistan bowlers; the injury concerns within the England squad; the used surface and the nerves inherent in going into such a game as overwhelming favourites - England brushed past their opponents with ruthless efficiency. They have now won three matches in this World Cup by more than a hundred runs and another by eight wickets.

ALSO READ: 'This is just... obscene' - Eoin Morgan fires England to sixes world record

There will be those who point to the quality of the opposition and argue that nothing less should be expected. Not without some justification, either. Afghanistan's lack of exposure to these conditions (they had never played an international match in England before this tournament) or this quality of opposition (19 of the 24 international matches they played ahead of this tournament were against Ireland or Scotland) was brutally exposed. Their fielding, in particular, was grotesque.

WATCH on Hotstar (India only): Highlights of Eoin Morgan's record-breaking knock

But remember Netherlands at Lord's in 2009? Or Netherlands in Chattogram in 2014? Remember Scotland in Edinburgh (2018) or Ireland in Bengaluru (2011)? England have faced apparently straightforward games before. They haven't always dealt with expectation well.

They haven't always had Eoin Morgan as their leader, though. And here he provided a reminder - if any were required - that he remains indispensable as both batsman and captain with an innings laden with records that powered England to the highest total in this World Cup to date. Morgan later reasoned that somewhere between 280-300 was a par score.

England were going along okay when he came in. On a pitch that Jonny Bairstow described as "tacky," they had scored 164 in their first 30 overs. It was a slightly old-fashioned, careful, approach demanding acceleration in the final phase of the innings. Later in the game, Afghanistan reached the 35-over mark having scored only 17 runs fewer than England at the same stage.

Morgan started slowly, too, with just one from his first seven deliveries. But then Gulbadin Naib bowled a long-hop free hit and Morgan pulled it for six; the start of a sequence of 63 balls from which he took 147 runs. From the moment he was dropped - he had 28 from 26 balls with two sixes at the time - the numbers are even more impressive: his next 44 deliveries brought 120 runs, including 15 more sixes. England plundered 198 from their final 15 overs (and 125 from their last eight) with Morgan becoming the first man in history to score a century of runs in sixes in an ODI innings. Only twice in previous World Cup campaigns have England, as a team, managed as many as the 17 sixes he hit here - all thumped between straight long-off and square-leg - in the entire tournament. No team has previously hit 25 sixes in an ODI innings.

These are extraordinary numbers. And unimaginable, from an England perspective, only a few years ago. England's last permanent ODI captain, by comparison, hit ten sixes in his entire career. But Morgan has led a dramatic resurgence which has transformed this side from also-rans to trailblazers. And, more than just talking about playing an attacking game, he has shown his team how to play it. He has, in every way, led from the front.

For despite the brilliance of Jos Buttler and the brutality of Jason Roy, Morgan remains the heartbeat of this side. He was the one thrust to the helm weeks before the last World Cup, given a team - and a tactic - that was hopelessly out of date and obliged to defend it. He was then the one trusted with instilling a new approach in a reshaped team and leading them through the inevitable stumbles that followed. In Buttler, he has a fine deputy who will, no doubt, inherit this side. But there was concern when it seemed Morgan may miss this game following a back spasm in Southampton. He is this side's compass, protector, example, and inspiration. It is his side and it plays in his image. He is not easily replaceable.

"Never have I ever thought I could play a knock like that," Morgan said afterwards. "I've probably played the best in my career over the last four years. But that hasn't involved a 50- or 60-ball hundred. I've scored one at Middlesex, that was 55 or 56 balls, so I thought I would have it in the locker somewhere but it's never happened. So I sort of gave up on it a little bit.

"It was a 50-50 shout whether myself or Jos went in which probably helped because, after I'd faced a few balls, I had no choice. I had to start taking risks because of him coming in next. The sixes record, along with the innings, are things I never thought I'd do."

So it was an exceptional innings. And one comparable, perhaps, with Viv Richards' on this ground in 1984. But it wasn't entirely out of the blue. Since July 14 2018, Morgan has averaged 83.75 in ODI cricket with a strike rate of 112.04; a sequence which has included two centuries and nine half-centuries in 18 innings. And while he made the Afghan bowling appear mediocre, it's worth remembering that Rashid Khan - who he struck for a record 11 sixes - is currently rated the world's best spinner in ODI cricket. Even if he were not an inspirational leader, he would be an automatic pick as batsman.

It hasn't always been that way. He has, like most batsman at some stage or other, endured some grim troughs of form. At one stage - leading into and including that last World Cup - he suffered nine single-figure scores in 12 ODI innings and five ducks in 11. Then, from the end of England's Champions Trophy campaign in 2017, he went ten innings without making a half-century.

But even during those fallow periods, he insisted England stick to their new approach. He has been unflinching in his commitment to that tactic and the players who he believes can fulfil it. And perhaps his own struggles have helped him empathise on those days when the bowlers go the distance and the batsmen go nowhere. His players talk of his unflappable nature; his calm on good day and bad; his ability to relieve the pressure and unleash their natural talent. It was noticeable, though, at the end of his innings that he allowed himself an unabashed smile as he left the pitch.

"I would have liked to have got more scores, but this is where it matters," he said. "All the work over the last four years, over the course of my career, it all comes to the front now."

And that's the key. For the spirit in this England side has been forged by shared experience: the pain and embarrassment of the 2015 World Cup; the hope and excitement of the years that followed; the belief that powers them now. Morgan, as leader and batsman, has been at the centre of all of it.