The ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 is here. The countdown to the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2019 finally comes to an end, as England, the tournament hosts and No.1-ranked ODI side in the world, face off against third-ranked South Africa at The Oval on Thursday, 30 May.
The opening ceremony of the 2019 International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cup was held at the London Mall to mark the beginning of the event.
The World Cup, hosted by England and Wales, received a dose of music and dance on Wednesday. In this regard, the London Mall was prepared for a huge spectacle. Many prominent cricketers too part and entertained the fans at the event.
Most analysts have been saying that England are the favorites, England will themselves, somewhere or the other, believe that they are the favourites. Even their opponents South Africa probably accept that England are the favourites.
But, the tags given to each team would be of no use come the first game of the World Cup. Being favorites or not here holds very little importance as compared to whether they play as favourites not.
Date: Thursday May 30, 2019
Timing: 02:30 PM PKT
Venue: The Oval, London
Weather: It’s set to be a cloudy, dry day in London, with injections of sunshine. Rain was falling on match eve but the forecast for Thursday is warm, cloudy and dry.
Conditions / Pitch Report: It looks a green and lively surface at this stage of the build-up, and assuming it retains that tinge of grass come the toss, it’ll be a no-brainer, bowl-first wicket. England’s preference is invariably to chase.
Head to Head:
Matches: 59 | England: 26 | South Africa: 29 | NR: 4
England: W W W W NR (completed matches, most recent first)
South Africa: W W W W W
Entering as the best team in the world is a remarkable turnaround for an England side that was knocked out in the first round four years ago.
Their rise has largely been built on a powerful batting line-up – they have twice broken the record for the highest total made by a team in an ODI.
Eoin Morgan says he knows his eleven for the match but will not reveal it until the toss. The batting order is set in stone and so the only decision will have been in the seam bowling attack.
England’s batting line-up is laden with superstars, headed by the opening pair of Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow. The rest of England’s line-up possesses similar strength, Eoin Morgan and Joe Root’s presence often relatively overshadowed by the magnificent Jos Buttler, who is arguably the most devastating 360° batsman in the world today.
Mark Wood who is still working his way back to fitness may sit out. Newly-qualified fast bowler Jofra Archer will be the man to watch among the bowlers, and could just be what they need to finally lift cricket’s most prestigious trophy.
England’s Probable XI:
1. Jason Roy, 2. Jonny Bairstow, 3. Joe Root, 4. Eoin Morgan (capt), 5. Ben Stokes, 6. Jos Buttler (wk), 7. Moeen Ali, 8. Adil Rashid, 9. Jofra Archer, 10. Chris Woakes, 11. Liam Plunkett
2. South Africa
On the other hand, South Africa, like England, do not possess an esteemed record at the tournament, but their side looks balanced and of high quality.
Dale Steyn’s absence from the World Cup opener against England will leaving South Africa scrambling for “plan B or plan C” according to captain Faf Du Plessis.
Steyn has been ruled out of the game due to a shoulder injury sustained during the Indian Premier League and leaves a considerable gap in the Proteas’ game plan.
Chris Morris and Dwaine Pretorius will line up in the 35-year-old’s stead, but Du Plessis did not attempt to paper over the setback.
With Steyn sidelined an even greater share of the burden will fall on Rabada, the natural heir to the veteran’s throne and the danger man for England’s batsman to watch.
Wicket-keeper Quinton de Kock is as capable as anyone of punishing England’s opening bowlers, and is a proven match-winner, alongside the experienced duo of Hashim Amla and skipper Faf du Plessis.
South Africa’s Probable XI:
1. Hashim Amla, 2. Quinton de Kock (wk), 3. Faf du Plessis (capt), 4. Rassie van der Dussen / Aiden Markram, 5. David Miller, 6. JP Duminy, 7. Andile Phehlukwayo, 8. Chris Morris, 9. Kagiso Rabada, 10. Lungi Ngidi, 11. Imran Tahir
Players to watch:
1. Jason Roy – Batsman, England
England will consider themselves extremely lucky with the form that their opener Jason Roy has been enjoying heading into the World Cup. With a player of the series performance against Pakistan in their last ODI series earlier this month, Roy is definitely one of the batsmen to watch out for, in the World Cup.
2. Jofra Archer – Bowler, England
Although South Africa look a stronger side but England’s fast bowlers are really capable of wreaking havoc on their day. Archer will be one of England’s key players in the tournament. His deceptive pace and the swing that he gets from each of his deliveries make him a very lethal option in the opening game against South Africa. The batting looks suitably reinforced, so it is important that Archer hits the ground running for England to establish an equally potent bowling unit.
3. Hashim Amla – Batsman South Africa
Hashim Amla can have a good start to the tournament if he takes off in a batsman friendly pitch. Amla is a smart player and plays well to the situation. He has been very consistent with the runs for South Africa and could be one of the most important players in the tournament.
4. Imran Tahir – Bowler South Africa
Quelling runs and taking key wickets in the middle overs will be vital to prevent an astronomical England total, and Tahir will be the man tasked to do it. His guile and experience could prove crucial against the strong England middle order.
Stats and Travia:
- Neither team has lost a match in their most recent five-match ODI series.
Eoin Morgan: Level of expectation and the favourites tag is there for a reason. Our form over the last two years at home in particular has been outstanding. In other World Cups we’ve gone in with very little expectation and not done very well. I’d pick this position over that.
Faf du Plessis: For us as a leadership group, it’s trying to find how can we be most attacking and trying to get wickets. Obviously that was with Dale included but that changed now, so we’ll look at setting up our team to try to make sure we can get guys on the team that can get wickets.