Cricket World Cup: England vs South Africa
Venue: The Oval, London.
Date: Thursday 30th May 2019
South Africa get their 2019 World Cup campaign underway as they take on hosts England in the opening match of the tournament. The Proteas arrive in England in good ODI form – having won 9 of their last series around the world but England are the hot favourites to lift the trophy in July at Lords.
England are ranked as the number 1 ODI side in the world and have enjoyed a transformation in approach under Eoin Morgan’s captaincy in the last 2/3 years. They were humiliated at the last World Cup in Australia and New Zealand and have responded in style with the likes of Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow demolishing bowling attacks at the top of the order and in Adil Rashid, they have the premiere spin bowler in limited overs cricket in the world.
South Africa are a side in relative transition with many young players coming into a squad with the likes of Hashim Amla and JP Duminy on hand to provide top level experience. In Lungi Ngidi and Kagiso Rabada they have two of the most exciting pace bowling prospects on the planet and they will be hoping the likes of Aiden Markram and David Miller can transfer their franchise cricket form to the international stage.
Historically, England like to chase in One Day internationals and will field first – regardless of pitch conditions. With the toss likely to have a big impact on the game, South Africa will be hoping for a flat pitch and will look to bat England out of the game and if the hosts are inserted, they will be looking to put a massive total on the board too.
Faf du Plessis will lead South Africa as they look to claim their first ever Cricket World Cup and ditch the tag of being big game ‘chokers’. With no AB de Villiers to call upon, the likes of wicketkeeper-batsman Quinton de Kock at the top of the order could be the man ro make the difference for the Proteas.
The pitch at the Oval tends to be very batsmen friendly and with question marks lingering over the fitness levels of Dale Steyn, he may not be risked with a lot of cricket to be played over the next six weeks. Kagiso Rabada has performed well in English conditions historically and has had a bit of needle with the likes of Joe Root and Ben Stokes in the past, so could be fired up.
England have plenty of ‘gun’ players in the ranks and very few players in world cricket possess the ball-striking abilities of Jos Buttler. The Lancashire wicketkeeper-batsman can bat anywhere in the order and was in fine form in England’s recent series whitewash of Pakistan.
Whilst much of the pre-tournament talk for England has centred round Jofra Archer, they have plenty of quality pace bowlers and Liam Plunkett has been a consistent performer for England in this format of the game for many years. He has recently moved to Surrey to play his club cricket and will enjoy the extra pace and bounce offered by the Oval pitch.
With two of the top 3 sides in the world doing battle, it should be a real spectacle at the Oval to open the World Cup. South Africa will look to keep it tight in the field and should trouble England with the ball but perhaps don’t have enough depth in the batting department – making England the justified favourites at 0.45 with BetXChange.
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