England made a confident start to their Cricket World Cup campaign as they crushed South Africa by 104 runs in the opening match of the tournament at The Oval on Thursday. South Africa won the toss and also looked to have restricted the hosts to a relatively modest total of 311/8. There were contributions from all around the team, but the top scorer was Ben Stokes, who scored 89, to justify him being promoted in the order ahead of Jos Buttler.
England beat South Africa by 104 runs!
— ICC (@ICC) May 30, 2019
Toss: South Africa won the toss and elected to bowl against England.
First innings: In the England innings, Ben Stokes top-scored with 89. Jason Roy, Joe Root and Eoin Morgan also made fifties in the hosts’ total of 311 for eight. For South Africa, Lungi Ngidi dismissed three England batsmen while Kagiso Rabada and Imran Tahir took two wickets each. England had a disastrous start after being invited to bat as Tahir sent back Jonny Bairstow in the first over for a golden duck. Roy and Root then lifted England innings. The duo added 106 runs for the second wicket. After England crossed 100 mark, Phehlukwayo got rid of Roy in the 19th over and then Rabada struck in the next over to dismiss Root (51). Captain Eoin Morgan then took England past 200. After Tahir got rid of Morgan, Stokes powered hosts to 311/8.
Second innings: South Africa’s Quinton de Kock hit 68 and Rassie van der Dussen 50, but England took wickets at regular intervals to ensure the required run rate kept climbing. Stokes pulled off a spectacular leaping one-handed catch on the boundary to dismiss Andile Phehlukwayo and Jofra Archer claimed three wickets as South Africa were bowled out for 207 with more than 10 overs to spare. Quinton de Kock (68) was the only batsman who looked capable of taking the fight to the hosts, and when he was batting with Rassie van der Dussen (50), it looked for a while like we were set for a cracking finish. However, wickets fell in a heap after De Kock’s wicket, and when Archer picked up Van der Dussen’s wicket as well, the game was all but over.
Ben Stokes with the bat, Ben Stokes with the ball, Ben Stokes on the field!
— Cricket World Cup (@cricketworldcup) May 30, 2019
Gamechanger: Jofra Archer’s opening spell broke the backbone of the South Africa batting order. He dismissed Aiden Markram (11) and skipper Faf du Plessis (7) and also forced Hashim Amla (13) to retire to the pavilion for a long time after being hit by a fiery bouncer. When Archer had done with his spell, South Africa were 44/2 in the 10th over, with their top order back in the hut. The partnership between Quinton de Kock and Rassie van der Dussen gave some hope to the away team for a while, but it was always going to be difficult to recover from the impact of such a devastating spell.
Faf du Plessis: I think we have been outplayed in all three departments. Basically we were 3 down in 12 overs and I think we were looking for 330-340 but when we took the pace off we thought 300 was par. Their batting was really good. They are a top-quality team and they showed that with the bat today. You need a bit of momentum in the first two games. He (Amla) is okay now and when he came back to the dressing room, he looked fine and hopefully that’s a good sign for the next game. When we have Dale and all our resources, we back our bowling to restrict teams under 300.
Eoin Morgan: Delighted to be off and running in this tournament. It’s more satisfying than normal. We were very good today, the wicket didn’t allow us to execute our plan which is to try and score quite a considerable total, but I thought the maturity and smart cricket we played shows the effort we put in the last two years and the experience as well. Extremely impressed. Stokes had a field day and especially that catch he took was absolutely outstanding. To have a match-winner like that in the side, he is someone who lifts absolutely everybody and I thought the bowling unit really did get off to a great start and continued to learn from the first innings and then put into place in second innings.
Scorecard: ENG 311/8 (50.0) | SA 207-all out (39.5)
(With inputs from PTI)