MAY 30, 2019
Brief Scorecard: England 311 for 8 (Stokes 89, Morgan 57, Roy 54, Root 51, Ngidi 3-66) beat South Africa 207 (de Kock 68, van der Dussen 50, Archer 3-27) by 104 runs
LONDON – Ben Stokes top-scored with 89 while Jofra Archer picked 3 wickets as England stormed to a 104-run win over South Africa at The Oval in the opening match of World Cup 2019 on Thursday.
It was a clinical performance by the hosts who are one of the favourites to win this World Cup. There was a lot at stake for both teams in the first game of the tournament. Neither England nor South Africa has won the World Cup and both teams were keen to make a strong impression from the onset.
And South Africa stunned the cricketing world when Imran Tahir became the first ever spinner to bowl the first over of a World Cup. To make things more exciting, Tahir struck with his 2nd ball to remove the dangerous Jonny Bairstow for zero. And as you would expect, Tahir took off for his trademark celebration. If you were a South African fan at that stage, it was a sight to behold.
England boast of arguably the most dangerous batting line-up in the world.
With Jonny Bairstow back in the pavillion, there was still a lot of firepower which could have hurt South Africa. But their bowlers responded well. Imran Tahir and Kagiso Rabada were difficult to put away which meant Jason Roy, Joe Root and Eoin Morgan could never accelerate the way this England team is expected to.
The pitch was not what England would have hoped for and it took a special innings from Ben Stokes to propel the hosts beyond 300. Roy, Root and Morgan made enterprising half-centuries and fought hard against a quality bowling attack even without Dale Steyn.
Ben Stokes stars for England
Ben Stokes was the best of the English batsmen on display at The Oval. He paced his innings brilliantly after skipper Eoin Morgan became Imran Tahir’s second victim. Stokes did not hit a single six in his innings but still finished with a strike rate of 112.65.
For a while it looked like Stokes would become the first centurion of the 2019 World Cup but his decision to play a reverse pull against Lungi Ngidi turned out to be a mistake and he fell 11 runs short.
South Africa’s chase never really gathered any momentum and that was thanks in no small measure to the pace and fire of Jofra Archer. In his 2nd over, Archer hit Hashim Amla on the helmet and the legendary South African opener had to retire hurt. Immediately after, Archer removed Aiden Markram and Faf du Plessis to leave the Proteas reeling.
Quinton de Kock and Rassie van der Dussen gave South Africa a glimmer of hope with their 3rd wicket partnership of 85. But when de Kock fell to Liam Plunkett for 68 in the 23rd over and JP Duminy was sent back by Moeen Ali in the 26th, it was all but over for South Africa.
Archer returned to the attack and accounted for der Dussen for 50 and South Africa were staring at defeat.
The day belonged to Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer. Stokes capped off the game with a brilliant catch and then dismissed Kagiso Rabada and Imran Tahir to wrap up a huge win for England.
Courtesy/Source: India Today