The multinational ODI feast is set to delight the cricket fans as two cricketing firepowers - England and South Africa prepare to face each other in the World Cup 2019 opener on Thursday. The co-hosts have been tagged as firm favourites to clinch their maiden title, while the African nation are often termed as "chokers" for letting down during key fixtures and they would love to remove the tag this time.
Date: 30th May 2019 (Thursday)
Time: 10:30 AM (England), 11:30 AM (South Africa) and 03:00 PM (IST)
Venue: Kennington Oval, London.
The players are expected to witness a chilly day with 83 per cent cloud cover throughout the course of the game. Rain is not expected to interfere during the match hours and the temperature will be around 18-20 degree Celsius.
The flat deck and short boundaries at the Kennington makes it perfect for a high-scoring encounter. Due to the Wednesday's (29th May) rain in Kennington, the pitch might assist the bowlers in the early hours of the play, but is expected to favour the batsmen as the game progresses.
Overall : England and South Africa have challenged each other in 56 completed ODI fixtures, with the Proteas leading the head-to-head record at 29-26, with the remaining one game ending in a tie.
In CWC : The World Cup head-to-head stats remain neutral, with both teams securing the honours on three occasions each out of the six matches.
In England : The Africans have not garnered much success against the British in England, and have managed just eight wins in 23 completed ODI fixtures.
At Kennington Oval : The Proteas have visited Kennington on six occasions and have managed just two wins. But they did beat England in their only World Cup face-off at this venue by 122 runs in 1999 .
England are going through a great ODI run with seven wins in their previous nine fixtures. They are coming on the back off an threatening warm-up show against Afghanistan and will be itching to make a similar start to their World Cup campaign.
Key Batsmen - Jonny Bairstow, Jason Roy and Eoin Morgan
The Kennington has been Eoin Morgan's happy hunting ground as the skipper averages 57.30 here. While England's J4 unit, consisting of Jonny Bairstow, Jason Roy, Joe Root and Jos Butter have been unstoppable in recent times, and are likely to send shivers in the African unit.
Key Bowlers - Chris Workes, Liam Plunkett and Jofra Archer
Chris Woakes (126 wickets in 85 matches) and Liam Plunkett (124 wickets in 81 matches) are two experienced bowlers in the line-up and will be Morgan's key men against the Proteas. Jofra Archer stormed into the squad after an impressive show against Pakistan where he picked up 3 wickets with an average economy of 3.85. He was particularly impressive in the first game where he finished with the figures of 4-2-6-1.
Expected Playing XI
Eoin Morgan (C), Jos Buttler (W), Jason Roy, Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes, Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes, Jofra Archer, Liam Plunkett and Tom Curran.
South Africa have lost just two of their previous 10 games. The Proteas are coming off an impressive 87-run win in their warm-up game against Sri Lanka and will eyeing early honours in the group stage.
Key Batsmen - Quinton de Kock, Faf du Plessis and Hashim Amla
Skipper Faf du Plessis and Quinton de Kock are the two key figures in the batting line-up. Both have been in good touch this year and are expected to play a pivotal role in the World Cup. Hashim Amla also announced his form in their warm-up games with knocks of 65 and 51* against Sri Lanka and Afghanistan respectively, and one should expect him to make it better against England. While David Miller and JP Duminy will be backed to take the team towards a commanding position in case of early jolts.
Key Bowlers - Lungi Ngidi, Kagiso Rabada and Imran Tahir
Imran Tahir is having a dream run with the ball. The bowler was the leading wicket-taker in the recently concluded IPL, and he will be expected to bring that form into the World Cup. While in the absence of Dale Steyn, who has been ruled out of the opening fixture due to an injury, Kagiso Rabada and Lungi Ngidi will share the pace responsibilities with the new ball and are expected to inflict major damage to the British batters.
Expected Playing XI
Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock (W), Faf du Plessis (C), Rassie van der Dussen, David Miller, JP Duminy, Andile Phehlukwayo, Chris Morris, Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi and Imran Tahir.
Also read - Most wickets in world cup year wisePublished 29 May 2019, 14:32 IST