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Sensational All-round show by Stokes lead hosts to a stunning victory over Proteas

English all-rounder Ben Stokes starred in all departments as England thrashed South Africa in the opening World Cup match at the Kennington Oval. His 89 with the bat aided by excellent bowling figures of 2 for 12 and then an unbelievable catch at the boundary lead his team to a thrashing win over the Africans.

Match started with an unprecedented move by Faf du Plessis when he gave the ball to a spinner, Imran Tahir at the beginning of the game. It never happened in past that a spinner bowled the first over of an ODI World Cup. Bringing Tahir early in the game really worked as he dismissed Jonny Bairstow on the second ball of his first over, giving his team an early breakthrough.

Good Bowling Decision

The decision of Tahir bowling the first over was exactly in line with the previous record of Jonny Bairstow as he was dismissed five times by the leg-spinners in the recently concluded IPL. Jason Roy also finds it hard to tackle the googlies early in the game.

After Bairstow, Joe Root and Roy took on the campaign till Roy was sent to the pavilion by Phehlukwayo on 54 in the 19th over. Root was quick to follow suit and got dismissed on the very first ball of twentieth over by pacer Rabada. Then the Captain Morgan, whose aggressive style of batting has lead England to win 8 successive ODI series before starting their World Cup campaign, struck the first two maximums of the match on two consecutive deliveries by Ngidi before getting caught in the deep in the 37th over, on Tahir’s ball.

Ben Strokes Show

After that left-arm Stokes played a brilliant and sensible inning of 89 on 79 balls till he gave the catch at short third man to Amla on the last ball of 49th over by Ngidi. Hence, England put 311 on the scoreboard with a collective effort.

Jofra Archer, a Barbados-born pacer damaged the South African batting even before taking a wicket by bowling a bouncer, which crashed into the helmet of veteran Amla, making him retired hurt. Archer limited the Proteas to 44 for 2 by his brilliant bowling. He took 3 for 27 in the seven overs he bowled. 

South African Captain du Plessis was dismissed at 5 in the 10th over when he top-edged Archer’s ball to long leg after the opening batsman Markram edged to Joe Root in the eighth over.

Left-arm opener de Kock kept his team in the game with his 58-ball fifty but ultimately, he was shown the pavilion by Liam Plunkett in the 23rd over when he was at 68. Dussen carried on the campaign with his 50 on 61 till he was caught by Moeen Ali on Archer’s delivery.

A one-handed catch by back-pedalling Stokes gave an end to Phehlukwayo’s innings. Amla too, could not make a difference and was caught behind off Plunkett’s ball and then Stokes took the wicket of Tahir to end the game and give a margin of 104 runs to England over the Proteas.

Ben Stokes was declared as the man of match for his outstanding performance in all the departments.

Today, Pakistan will take on West Indies to start their World Cup campaign at Trent Bridge.

Written by Alice Hanson

Alice Hanson lives in London. Alice has worked as a journalist for nearly two decade and has contributed to several large cricket reporting websites. As a founder and journalist for Top Cricket News, Alice covers international tournaments.

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