Sports Desk: In the World Cup opener against South Africa at the Oval in London, hosts England on Thursday posted 311 for eight in 50 overs. Ben Stokes was the highest scorer for England hitting 89 off 79. Along with him, Jason Roy (54), Joe Root (51) and Eoin Morgan (87) also hit the fifties.
South Africa won the toss and opted to bowl first.
England started their World Cup with a nightmare as they lost their first wicket, Jonny Bairstow (0) off just the second ball of the World Cup, with only one run on the board, after South Africa captain Faf du Plessis sprang a neat surprise by giving the new ball to leg-spinner Imran Tahir, probably targeting Jason Roy. But it was Bairstow who fell first, aiming for an extravagant drive through the covers but only managing to edge it into the gloves of Quinton de Kock.
Despite losing Bairstow early, England did recover to display the carefree aggression that has become their signature style of ODI cricket and even helped them which have made them the number one ODI team and earned them the favorite tag in this World Cup. In first 10 overs, they put up 60 for one.
Roy and Root were playing keeping a big score in mind. They have faced some difficult deliveries from Kagiso Rabada and Lungi Ngidi but Roy and Root took the show with some great shots.
England passed 100-runs mark at the end of 17th over with the fifty of Roy off 48 balls with seven fours. He pushed Andile Phehlukwayo to short fine leg to complete the first fifty of this World Cup. Off the last ball of 18th over, Root also reached his fifty off 57 with five fours.
After posting a stand of 106 runs, Roy (54) fell while pulling off Phehlukwayo. He just managed a top-edge which made his way back to the dressing room. Faf took an easy catch at the mid-off area. In the next over, Rabada removed the other set batsman Root (51). JP Duminy took a brilliant catch backward point. England lost two of their set batsmen within four deliveries.
However, in the fourth wicket stand, captain Morgan and Ben Stokes added an identical 106 runs to counter this mini-collapse. While they were at the crease, the team completed 200 runs in 35 overs. Both batsmen completed fifties, thus making it the first time that four English batsmen hit fifties in the same World Cup match.
Imran Tahir returned to bowl his fourth spell in 37th over and in the fifth ball of that over, he removed Morgan for 57 off 60 with four fours and three sixes.
In the second over of last powerplay, England lost the wicket of Jos Buttler (18). He was expected to display some power hitting. It was a slower from Ngidi, and Buttler mistimed to lose his stumps.
South Africa’s second success in the last powerplay came when Ngidi removed Moeen Ali for three. These two dismissals prevented England from posting a mammoth total. At the same time, England were also disappointed due to the dismissal of Ben Stokes in 49th over.
In the last 10 overs, England scored 76 runs losing four wickets. Eventually, they ended up scoring 311 for eight wickets in 50 overs.
For South Africa, Rabada (10-0-66-2) was the pick of the bowlers, and Tahir (10-0-61-2) made a crucial contribution, but it was Ngidi who came back well at the death after being flayed around the park in his earlier spells, eventually ending up with the best figures (10-0-66-3).
risingbd/Dhaka/May 30, 2019/AKA