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Stokes, Archer fire England to victory

Sports Lounge Staff



England's Jofra Archer celebrates dismissing Aiden Markram of South Africa in his first ICC Cricket World Cup match at the Kennington Oval, London, on Thursday. Photos: Twitter @cricketworldcup

The pair help hosts England defeat South Africa by 104 runs to begin their ICC Cricket World Cup campaign with a bang

London: Riding on an inspirational all-round display by Ben Stokes and a solid bowling performance by debutant Jofra Archer, hosts England began their pursuit of winning their first World Cup with a crushing 104-run victory over South Africa at the Kennington Oval here on Thursday.

Stokes first top-scored with a  79-ball 89 (9 x 4s) to help England post 311-8 in the stipulated 50 overs and later polished off the South African tail (2-12) not before taking a thrilling one-handed catch to dismiss Andile Phehlukwayo at deep midwicket. The catch is most likely to go down in cricketing history as the best-ever in a World Cup match.

Stokes was well supported in his campaign by debutant Jofra Archer, who underlined his fast-growing superstar status with 3-27 and a bouncer that forced Hashim Amla to retreat to the pavilion for concussion tests.

At one stage, England did seem to be 20-30 run short of an ideal total on a slow Kennington Oval pitch, despite fifties from Stokes, Jason Roy (54), Joe Root (51) and Eoin Morgan (57). In the end it proved enough to win at a canter.

“To be honest I had a little bit of a panic on.  I was a bit further in than I should have been. I’ve got the nickname ‘Claw’, and luckily it stuck! I didn’t really know I’d react because I shouldn’t have been there, and if I’d been in the right position it would have been a regulation catch. The atmosphere was unbelievable; it was really loud. It was a fantastic turnout for the first World Cup game, so thanks to everybody. We hope it continues.” — Ben Stokes on that catch

Ben Stokes put up an inspirational effort in England’s opening World Cup game.

The day had started dreadfully for the England. After put in to bat by South African skipper Faf du Plessis, the hosts lost their key batsman Jonny Bairstow on the very second delivery of the opening match of the 2019 edition of the World Cup. Du Plessis’s decision to open the bowling with seasoned spinner Imran Tahir gave him immediate return. However, England recovered thereafter with determined efforts from Root and Roy.

Later, captain Morgan and Stokes picked up the baton and eased into a century stand of their own.

Brief Scores: England 311-8 in 50 overs (Ben Stokes 89, Eoin Morgan 57, Jason Roy 54, Joe Root 51; Lungi Ngidi 3-66, Kagiso Rabada 2-66, Imran Tahir 2-61) beat South Africa 207 all out in 39.5 overs (Quinton de Kock 68, HE van der Dussen 50; Jofra Archer 3-27, Ben Stokes 2-12, Liam Plunkett 2-37) by 104 runs.