England began their three-match bilateral series against South Africa in a phenomenal manner when they defeated the Proteas by 72 runs to take a 1-0 lead in Headingley, Leeds.
England rode on captain Eoin Morgan’s 107 to put up 339/6 in 50 overs and later bundled out Siuth Africa for 267.
Though, they didn’t really face much problems in the first clash but England were in a spot of bother when all-rounder Ben Stokes left the field for a while. While fielding Stokes, suffered a pain in his left knee and left the ground for sometime. He eventually came back to take part in the further proceedings of the match.
England captain Morgan suggested that the all-rounder was fit and his pain wasn’t a serious one.
“When he came back on the field he was fit to bowl, but we managed to take a wicket when he came back on and I felt bowling him again, even though he was fit, wasn’t worth the risk… give him an extra day or two with ice,” said Morgan.
“It doesn’t even have swelling, no significant signs of an injury, but we’ll assess that in the next couple of days. “He did the right thing, went off to get checked, because knees can leave you out for up to six months or a year if
something significant does happen. “He came back on with the green light to bowl and was running around, but he understands. He’s an experienced campaigner,” he added.
Talking about the performance, the left-handed batsman said that he was pretty satisfied after the kind of display that his team put especially after the kind of start South Africa got.
“It’s very satisfying putting in a performance like that, especially against a really, really strong team and given the start they got and the calibre of batting all the way down the order,” the former Ireland batsman added.
Wednesday’s match took place just two days after a suicide terror attack in nearby Manchester that killed 22 people.
“A lot of guys were upset by what happened and we dedicate this game to them (the victims),” Ali told the BBC.
Reflecting on his own performance, the often overly modest Ali added: “I backed my game today more than I have done in the past sometimes.”
South African captain AB de Villiers hailed England’s performance and credited Morgan for his knock.
“England played phenomenally well with the bat, credit to Morgs for the hundred,” said de Villiers.
“They dominated the bowling and manipulated us, probably 20-30 above par and we didn’t bat well enough. But congrats to them. We couldn’t get a partnership going and at the end of the day we were outplayed,” he added.