Ben Stokes, England, South Africa, ICC Cricket World Cup 2019, England vs South Africa
Ben Stokes starred with the bat, ball and in the field as England kicked off their World Cup 2019 campaign with a 104-run win over South Africa. @AFP

Ben Stokes lived up to his allrounder billing as England kicked off their ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 campaign with a comprehensive 104-run win over South Africa at The Oval in London on Thursday.

Stokes top scored with 89 runs after the Eoin Morgan-led side posted 311 runs on the board after put in to bat by Faf du Plessis and then returned with two wickets, a run-out and a stunning catch as the hosts sealed a win against the Faf du Plessis-led Proteas.

In the 35th over of the South African chase, Stokes, fielding in the deep, flew backwards and took a one-handed stunner to dismiss Andile Phehlukwayo.

“I was a little further in than I should have been. I panicked a bit I guess but it stuck. I shouldn’t have been there (initially) and it was probably a regulation catch but I was in the wrong position,” said Stokes, who won the Man of the Match award, during the post-match presentation. (Cricket World Cup 2019, ENG vs SA: AS IT HAPPENED)

Batting first, England did not really enjoy a bright start as Imran Tahir struck in the first over to remove Jonny Bairstow. While England, on the back of Stokes’ 89 and fifties from fifties from Jason Roy (54), Joe Root (51), Eoin Morgan (57) crossed the 300-run mark, Stokes said that it was a “tricky” wicket to bat on against the South African bowlers, who were “hard to get away”.

“The message from the batsmen in the middle was that it was a tricky pitch to bat on, so the aim was to get to 300-310. Maybe 330. I was looking to just pace it,” said Stokes. (ALSO READ: Cricket World Cup 2019: Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, opens tournament at The Oval)

“The hard length was difficult and obviously, the slower balls and all. Towards the end, they (SA bowlers) were really hard to get away. I guess psychologically getting over the 300-run mark really helped. And then, our bowlers knew what to do and they executed well,” added Stokes.

The England allrounder was also pleased with the turnaround for the World Cup opener and hoped that it will continue. “It was unbelievable, excellent turnaround for the first World Cup and hope it continues,” concluded Stokes.