England began their World Cup campaign with a resounding 104-run victory over South Africa at the Oval.
The Proteas won the toss and Faf du Plessis had no hesitation in bowling first on a good looking wicket.
He then surprised everyone by starting the innings with Imran Tahir, who got Jonny Bairstow out with the second ball of the match.
Jason Roy and Joe Root forged a good partnership before they got out in space of three balls to Andile Phehlukwayo and Kagiso Rabada respectively.
Then it was captain Eoin Morgan and Ben Stokes’ turn to stitch a good partnership through the middle stages to lift England past the 200 mark. Morgan was dismissed by Tahir with the score of 217.
Jos Buttler didn’t last long and Moeen Ali soon followed suit, both dismissed by Lungi Ngidi.
Stokes and Chris Woakes tried but couldn’t provide the finishing touch to the innings. Both got out at around the 300 mark. Jofra Archer then hit some valuable runs in the last over to lift the score up to 311.
While bowling, the hosts were very disciplined and didn’t give much away. Archer was good with the ball and picked up three key wickets. He was well supported by Adil Rashid, Liam Plunkett, Moeen Ali and Stokes, who also took an amazing catch.
At the end of the day, South Africa fell 104 short of runs of England’s score.
All in all, an ideal start for Morgan’s men. Here’s how we rated their players:
Jonny Bairstow - 4
Got a peach of a delivery first up to be dismissed without scoring. He was lively in the field, though.
Jason Roy - 8
After the early loss of Bairstow, Roy played well and scored a well-compiled half-century. He was electric at backward point in the field, saving plenty of runs with some athletic stops.
Joe Root - 8
Root came in after an early loss of Bairstow and played very well. He scored a brisk half-century and took two catches in the slips.
Eoin Morgan - 8
The captain played well with the ball and led his side expertly on the field. A very good day for him.
Ben Stokes - 10 (MOTM)
Scored a gritty 89 to hold the England innings together from the middle to the latter stages. Took one of the best catches in a long time to dismiss Phehlukwayo and grabbed two wickets in two balls to finish off the game.
Jos Buttler - 4
Buttler played on after making a brisk 18. He also dropped a catch behind the stumps. Not his best day.
Moeen Ali - 6
He played a good shot but du Plessis took a brilliant catch in the deep to dismiss him. However, the all-rounder came back and bowled well in the middle overs.
Chris Woakes - 7
Scored some handy runs late on and bowled very well up front to set the tone.
Liam Plunkett - 8
The middle-over expert was at it again! He picked up two crucial wickets around the middle part of Proteas’ innings to stall their chase completely.
Jofra Archer - 9
Scored some valuable runs in the last over and bowled extremely well. His extra pace and bounce was too much for the South African batters at times. Three for 27 is not a bad start to life in the World Cup!
Adil Rashid - 6
Kept things tight with the ball and got a wicket courtesy of some brilliance from Stokes in the deep.
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