London [UK]: England, who entered in the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup with the favourite tag on their shoulder, displayed a doughty performance in the opening match of the tournament and registered a 104-run victory over South Africa at The Oval here on Thursday.
Chasing target of 312 runs, South Africa got off to a very decent start but in the fourth over Hashim Amla went back to the pavilion after getting hit by a nasty bouncer bowled by Jofra Archer. Amla left the field for the assessment and replacing him, Aiden Markram came out to bat and joined Quinton de Kock.
Continuing his brutal bowling attack, Archer then provided his team with the first breakthrough as he sent Markram (11) back to the pavilion in the eighth over. Skipper Faf du Plessis then came out to bat but he too became a victim of Archer. Rassie van der Dussen then accompanied De Kock on the field and provided their side with a much-need momentum as they both formed an 85-run partnership.
De Kock scored his half-century and both started playing furiously as they conceded 16 runs in the 22nd over bowled by Moeen Ali. However, in the next over Liam Plunkett got hold of De Kock, who got out after scoring 68 runs.
De Kock’s dismissal brought JP Duminy out on the field. However, their partnership did not last as Ali got hold of Duminy (8). In the next over, Pretorius got run out which brought Andile Phehlukwayo on the field.
Both added 23-runs on the board before Archer struck again in the 32nd over and got hold of Van Der Dussen (50) and continued to bowl a wicket maiden over. After that, Amla came back to the field and played with Phehlukwayo. South Africa lost seven wickets before touching the 200-mark as they were at 182/7 after the completion of 35th over.
Kagiso Rabada then came out to bat and both Rabada and Amla played cautiously as they avoided risky shots. However, Plunkett got hold of Amla in the 39th over. In the next over, Stokes came out furiously and sent both Rabada and Imran Tahir back to the pavilion on two consecutive deliveries to help his side register a 104-run victory.
Earlier, England were sent to bat first and they performed reasonably well despite facing an early hiccup in the name of Jonny Bairstow, who got out on the very first ball he faced bowled by Imran Tahir.
Opener Jason Roy was then joined by Joe Root and both provided their side with an amazing start as they stitched a 106-run partnership. Both Roy and Root struck their half-century but soon after hitting a half-century, the former gave away his wicket in the 19th over after scoring 54.
In the very next over the other set batsman, Root too got out after playing a knock of 51 runs. Skipper Eoin Morgan and Ben Stokes then took the field and played splendidly. Both struck regular boundaries and gave their side a brilliant momentum after their set batsmen, Roy and Root, got out in quick succession.
Morgan and Stokes too scored their respective half-century and formed a 106-run partnership. Repeating the ongoing trend, Morgan (57) also gave away his wicket after scoring his half-century as Aiden Markram completed an impeccable catch off Tahir’s delivery.
Therefore, after the completion of 37 overs, the hosts were at 217 runs at the loss of four wickets. Morgan’s dismissal brought Butler (18) on the field but he too was sent back to the pavilion by Ngidi. Moeen Ali (3) then came out to bat but he also became a victim of Ngidi. Chris Woakes then accompanied Stokes on the field and both added another 25 runs on the scoreboard before Woakes (13) got out in the 48th over.
In the very next over, Ngidi got hold of Stokes, who missed his century by 11 runs. Liam Plunkett and Jofra Archer then came out to bat and scored 11 runs in the last over to take their total to 311 runs.
South Africa will now face Bangladesh on June 2 whereas England will compete with Pakistan on June 3.
Brief scores: England (Ben Stokes 89, Eoin Morgan 57, Lungi Ngidi 3-66) defeated South Africa (Quinton de Kock 68, Rassie van der Dussen 50, Jofra Archer 3-27) by 104 runs.