Ben Stokes, Jofra Archer, England, South Africa, ICC Cricket World Cup 2019, England vs South Africa
Ben Stokes scored 89 with the bat and took a stunning catch while Jofra Archer, making his World Cup debut, scalped wickets as England beat South Africa by runs in World Cup 2019 opener. @ICC and Cricket World Cup Twitter

After Ben Stokes’ 89 guided England to 311/8, Jofra Archer, who set the stage on fire on his World Cup debut, scalped wickets as the Eoin Morgan-led side beat South Africa by 104 runs in the  ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 opener at The Oval in London on Thursday.

Chasing 312 runs to win, South African innings began on a nasty note after Jofra Archer’s bouncer hit Hashim Amla on his helmet, forcing the South African veteran to retire hurt. While Aiden Markram, who replaced Amla in the middle, hit two fours, he could only last for 12 balls after being caught by Joe Root in the slips off Archer’s bowling in the eight over.

Archer added one more wicket to his account as he struck in his next over to send Faf du Plessis packing. The South African miscued a pull and Adil Rashid held on to an easy catch at the fine-leg to give England their second breakthrough.

The hosts would have added one more wicket to their account had Quinton de Kock not enjoyed a stroke of luck off Adil Rashid’s bowling. The South African wicketkeeper-batsman, who tried to sweep the leg-spinner, had a lucky escape after the bails refused to come off after de Kock’s inside edge hit the off-stump as the ball went past the boundary rope. (Cricket World Cup 2019, ENG vs SA: AS IT HAPPENED)

The left-hander went on to bring up his half-century as he and Rassie van der Dussen steadied the South African innings after Faf’s dismissal. The two added 85 runs together. However, just when it looked that South Africa were gaining an upper hand, England struck back with three quick wickets.

Liam Plunkett started the mini collapse for South Africa as he dismissed de Kock for 68 after the Proteas opener failed to go big and Joe Root took a sharp catch at the fine-leg. England then scalped two quick wickets as JP Duminy played a poor shot off Moeen Ali’s bowling to be holed out in the deep and Dwaine Pretorius was run-out while going for the second run.

While van der Dussen scored a fifty, Archer’s return to the attack gave England their sixth wicket as he dismissed the South African right-hander, who gave an easy catch to Moeen at mid-on.

Then, it was Stokes’ turn to weave some magic in the field. After Andile Phehlukwayo tried to go big over mid-wicket as he slog swept the Rashid delivery, Stokes, fielding in the deep, flew backwards and took a one-handed stunner to give England their seventh wicket. (ALSO READ: Cricket World Cup 2019: Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, opens tournament at The Oval)

While Amla, who was retired hurt after being hit by an Archer bouncer, returned to the wicket, he could not do much as Plunkett dismissed him for 13 in the 39h over. Stokes, then wrapped up the South African innings as he scalped the last two wickets in the 40th over to seal England’s thumping win.

Earlier, Stokes’ 89 and fifties from Jason Roy (54), Joe Root (51), Eoin Morgan (57) took England past 300-run mark after being put in to bat by South Africa.

Imran Tahir, who opened the bowling and became the first spinner to open the bowling in the World Cup opener, set the ball rolling on the second delivery of the match as he sent Jonny Bairstow packing for a duck.

However, Joe Root and Jason Roy did not allow South Africa any immediate success as England moved past fifty-run mark in the ninth over, a little slow by their recent brisk standards but a much needed one following the early fall of Bairstow. The duo also completed the fifty-run partnership for the second wicket in the same over.

The hosts brought up their hundred in the 17th over before Roy, who became the first batsman to score a fifty in the World Cup, and Root notched up their respective fifties and completed the hundred-run partnership in the 18th over of the England innings.

However, South Africa struck back as Roy and Root perished in quick succession. First, Andile Phehlukwayo dismissed Roy for 54 after the England mistimed a pull shot and skipper Faf du Plessis, at mid-off, took an easy catch running backwards.

Then, Kagiso Rabada scalped his first wicket of the World Cup as he ended Root’s stay in the middle after JP Duminy held on to a sharp catch at the backward point as South Africa struck twice in space of four balls to stall England’s recovery.

Stokes and skipper Morgan, who was playing his 200th ODI for England, though did not allow South Africa to cash in on two quick wickets. While Morgan was the aggressor, Stokes took his time before opening his shoulder as the two added 106 runs together.

However, South Africa managed to break the partnership as Tahir scalped his second wicket of the match after Aiden Markram took an excellent diving catch to end Morgan’s innings. The left-hander scored 57 off 60 balls, hitting 4 fours and 3 sixes.

Stokes, meanwhile, stayed put even as South Africa continued to strike at regular intervals. While a lot was expected of Jos Buttler and Moeen Ali, the two could score only 18 and 3 respectively as Lungi Ngidi helped the Proteas to keep the hosts in check.

Stokes eventually got out in the penultimate over for 89 as Ngidi scalped his third wicket before England ended their innings with the score of 311/8.

Brief scores: England 311/8 (Ben Stokes 89, Eoin Morgan 57; Lungi Ngidi 3/66) beat South Africa 207 all out(Quinton de Kock 69, Rassie van der Dussen 50; Jofra Archer 3/27) by 104 runs