In what ended up like an anticlimactic match, England downed South Africa in World Cup opener by 104 runs. Stokes and Archer led the victory however the major talking could be the slowish nature of the pitch.
South Africa won the toss and expectedly inserted England in. The 1st ball of the match was telling as Imran Tahir got a little bit of spin to get the edge of Johnny Bairstow. South Africa then let the initiative go with a quick partnership between Jason Roy and Test captain Joe Root. However, both batsmen fell after their 50s as two wickets brought them back into the game.
Perhaps a message from the team management might have come to try slower ones. This was signified by Lungi Ngidi, bowling 23% slower balls in his spell (source: CricViz). This worked well, as South Africa punctured the inning with timely wickets. However, not having a 2nd spinner cost South Africa, as they tried to bowl Aiden Markram’s off-spinners. For England Stokes kept the innings going with 89. Lungi Ngidi picked up three wickets, while Kagiso Rabada and Imran Tahir bagged a brace.
In reply, South Africa hopes were jotted early as Jofra Archer’s pacey bouncer hurt Hashim Amla. On the other end, De Kock was stifled with accurate England bowling. Even during his partnership with van der Dussen, things looked under control for Eoin Morgan. His two spinners were foxing the batsmen especially Dussen, who despite scoring 50 looked at sea at times against spin.
Amla did return to bat, as it was too little too late for the Proteas. Andile Phehlukwayo resisted with 24 but ended up 104 runs short. Jofra Archer picked up three wickets, while Liam Plunkett and Ben Stokes picked up two wickets each.
Day 2 in the World Cup sees Pakistan take on West Indies.