England made a perfect start to their World Cup campaign, securing a 104-run win over South Africa at the iconic Oval, in London. All-rounder Ben Stokes was the hero of the show having scored 89 crucial runs for his teams and also chipping in with a couple of wickets towards the end of the game. Despite the tremendous show with bat and ball what turned out to be the highlight was his brilliant catch to dismiss Andile Phehlukwayo.
"(On the catch) I was a little further in than I should have been. I panicked a bit I guess but it stuck. I shouldn't have been there (initially) and it was probably a regulation catch but I was in the wrong position,” said the man of the match after the win.
Regarding his brilliant knock, Stokes said,
"(On the pitch) The message from the batsmen in the middle was that it was a tricky pitch to bat on, so the aim was to get to 300-310. Maybe 330. I was looking to pace it. The hard length was difficult and obviously, the slower ball and all. Towards the end, they (SA bowlers) were really hard to get away. I guess psychologically getting over the 300-run mark really helped. "
Having won the toss, South Africa decided to bowl first. After a phenomenal first over by Tahir, picking up Johnny Bairstow, the hosts were on the back-foot. But, Jason Roy and Joe Root steadied the ship for the ‘Three Lions’. After a 106-run partnership, both them fell prey to South African bowlers.
Following which, Ben Stokes showed his class, helping England reach a total of 311, although he fell eleven runs short of his century.
England once again proved why they are the favourites to clinch the coveted trophy and playing in their own den makes them a lethal force to reckon with. They are going to face Pakistan in the next encounter on June 3 in Trent Bridge.
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