World Cup 2019: England flatten South Africa at the Oval
May 30, 2019
The Oval | England beat South Africa by 104 runs
This was the first England-South Africa World Cup clash where England were billed as the favourites. This was new territory for Proteas were burdened in the past but now were devoid of high expectations this time. It was a slightly different narrative. So, when Imran Tahir customarily ran off after nabbing Jonny Bairstow caught behind in the first over, it seemed we're in for a proper match. Only, it was not. England pushed back with a century partnership from Root and Roy.
Next, Eoin Morgan launched 3 sixes to clock in a normal day of work. Ben Stokes was cheeky and fluent in his knock and could have had a hundred. But he chose to reverse pull a ball to short third man's hand than deposit it to the second tier over mid-wicket. Later though, he returned to mid-wicket to grab a sensational gasp-inducing one-handed catch at mid-wicket.
South Africa actually bowled and fielded really well to restrict the hosts. A slightly less gifted attack would have gifted 350 plus. 312 was a challenge. Slightly steep.
It needed a booster start to ease the pressure on the fragile middle order. Only Quinton de Kock fired. Hashim Amla retired hurt and misfired. Van der Dussen's fifty couldn't bring the target any closer as the batting still was missing the touch of a genius.
England has now shown that they can defend 300 or thereabouts. That is more difficult these days than one can imagine. More often than not they score in excess of that. They were clinical and better in every aspect of the game.
The best of this squad is yet to come but this flattening of the South Africans is a statement of intent from the hosts.
Toss: South Africa elected to field
England 311/8 (50 overs)
Ben Stokes 89 (79), Eoin Morgan 57 (60)
Lungi Ngidi 3/66, Kagiso Rabada 2/66
South Africa 207 (39.5 overs)
Hendrik Erasmus van der Dussen 50 (61), Quentin de Kock 68 (74)
Ben Stokes 2/12, Jofra Archer 3/27
England won by 104 runs | Player of the Match: Ben Stokes
Published 31 May 2019, 17:08 IST