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World Cup 2019: How England triumphed over South Africa in the tournament opener

Roald Grobler
ANALYST
Feature
256   //    31 May 2019, 02:47 IST

England cricket team
England cricket team

England clinched a convincing 104-run win in their opening World Cup 2019 match against South Africa on Thursday. Ben Stokes’ 89 helped the hosts post a challenging 311, before Jofra Archer took three wickets as South Africa were bowled out for 207.

The match was highly anticipated for weeks, but come match-day, South-Africa disappointed. They seemed on track with Quinton de Kock and Rassie van der Dussen set and the score on 129-2, before they imploded to 144-5. They never really recovered from that.

South African captain Faf du Plessis won the toss and chose to bowl. He made a brave move by opening the bowling with spinner Imran Tahir, and that worked as Tahir picked up the wicket of Jonny Bairstow (0 runs) with only his second ball. Bairstow edged the ball behind with wicket-keeper De Kock taking the chance.

Rebuilding the innings    

Jason Roy (54 runs) and Joe Root (51) regrouped after the early wicket. After a slow start, England smashed 13 off Tahir’s third over. The duo added 107 together before Roy was caught by Du Plessis at mid-on in the 19th over. Root also perished in the next over, pushing the ball straight to JP Duminy at point.

England now had two new batsmen at the crease: Eoin Morgan and Ben Stokes. Morgan looked in good touch right from the start of his innings, hitting Lungi Ngidi for consecutive sixes in the 26th over, one of them a magnificent inside-out cover drive. 

Proteas end strong

Morgan and Stokes put on 116 runs for the 4th wicket before the former was caught by Aiden Markram at deep mid-on. The score was now 217-4 in the 37th over.

Jos Buttler (18) joined Stokes at the crease with England in a fairly comfortable position. They rotated the strike nicely between them but when they looked ready to accelerate the innings, Buttler inside-edged the ball onto his stumps. At this point the score was 247-5 after 41.2 overs.

England had looked set for a score of 330-plus, but South Africa fought back well to take four wickets in the last nine overs. The bowlers sent down a lot of slower balls on a pitch where the ball gripped a bit. 

The hosts scored 27 runs off the last three overs and they ended on 311-8.   

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Archer troubles South African batsmen

South-Africa’s run chase was dealt an early blow when talented pacer Jofra Archer hit Hashim Amla on the helmet in the fourth over. Amla went off the field for a concussion test as a precaution.

Markram joined De Kock at the crease, striking two fluent boundaries before being caught behind the stumps by an Archer delivery in the eighth over. Eight runs later, and with the score on 44, captain Du Plessis (8) was also dismissed by the Barbados-born bowler.

Archer had torn apart the Proteas top order with his extra pace.

De Kock gets Proteas back on track    

Despite losing wickets De Kock, together with Rassie van der Dussen, stayed positive in their 86-run stand. At the 20-over mark the visitors had 93 runs on the board. 

Immediately after that the pair took the attack to the bowlers, smashing Liam Plunkett for 12 runs off his over before amassing 20 runs off Moeen Ali’s next over. Van der Dussen used the reverse-sweep successfully against Ali.

But in the 23rd over, De Kock was caught on the square-leg boundary off a Plunkett delivery. His wicket triggered a huge collapse, as South Africa slid from 129-2 to 144-5.

England put the finishing touches

Van der Dussen batted valiantly to keep his team’s hopes alive, but when he was caught at mid-on with the score on 167-6, the hosts were into South Africa’s tail. England triumphed by 104 runs as their opponents were bowled out for 207. 

Based on their dominant performance, England will be a tough team to beat in the tournament.

Also read - Best batting average in world cup

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