The drapes drew apart, the players stepped foot over the boundary, and the bell dinged into another World Cup opener, four years after the Aussies lifted the coveted trophy.
Yet, the trophy sits, polished as ever, on a pedestal that 10 teams will crave to reach for the next 46 days.
The awaited opener this year had the hosts clash with the Proteas at the iconic Oval, the ground where the first ever World Cup match took place. An equal weighing crowd treated both teams to positivity and pressure simultaneously, but the home team perhaps was fed with a heavier dose.
Put to bat first, South Africa’s key spinner took out England’s Johnny Bairstow with the very second ball, and it took only his exaggerated celebration to explain the importance of it all.
But guess what?
What came after that for South Africa required everything but celebration.
Joe Root, Jason Roy, and Eoin Morgan scored respective fifties, but it was the monster Ben Stokes who gave England a good score with a hefty 89. He not only played a match-winning innings, but when quick scalps by Jofra Archer during South Africa’s chase had faded into the background, Stokes took a blinding catch that earned him a standing ovation from the crowd.
If that wasn’t enough, he managed to take two wickets and as we’ve mentioned, like the monster he is, locked South Africa into the dungeons of defeat by a thrashing margin of 104 runs.