Eoin Morgan congratulated Adil Rashid on bouncing back from his “tough winter” after the leg-spinner’s maiden five-wicket haul set England on the fast track to victory over Ireland.
Rashid’s five for 27 helped to hustle the tourists out for 126 in 33 overs, in their first game in England, and then Alex Hales (55) and Joe Root (49no) were the driving forces to complete the chase in just 20 more for the loss of three wickets and end the mis-match without the need even for a lunch break between innings.
Rashid paid a heavy cost for his 23 wickets in England’s Test series defeat before Christmas against India, whose batsmen are so formidable in home conditions.
But he was back to his best with the white ball as Morgan’s men opened their high-profile summer by charging to an early victory to go 1-0 up with one more match to play in the Royal London Series, on Sunday at Lord’s.
Morgan said: “It was Adil’s day today. I thought he put in a magnificent effort with the ball.
“He had a tough winter and has learned a huge amount to come back today with confidence to bowl his variations and show how threatening he can be.”
Rashid’s ODI career-best has been bettered only once by any England spinner.
Asked how highly he rated his spell himself, the Yorkshireman said: “It was probably up there - I’ve had a couple of other performances as well.
“I hope I can now carry it on into the summer.”
Profiting mainly with his very effective googly, he had three lbw victims and also clean-bowled left-hander Stuart Thompson.
“You have good days and bad days - it’s how you deal with it and today went well,” Rashid added.
And Ireland captain William Porterfield was disappointed with his side’s display.
“It wasn’t the seamers that damaged us, it was the spin. We could have played that a lot better.
“When it comes to this stage, when games come thick and fast, it’s more mentally that anything.
“You have to put yourself back on track mentally,” he added,