ICC World Cup 2019 – Match 1 – England vs South Africa, Preview, Probable XI, Head to Head Record, Injury Update

The curtain raiser to the 2019 World Cup is a showdown between England, the co-hosts and strong tournament favourites, and South Africa. England has been in phenomenal form leading up to the world cup. From being one of the most orthodox teams in the last world cup, England have turned things around to become the batting giants of the game who hardly score anything less than 300.

On the other hand, South Africa has one of the best bowling attacks with the likes of Kagiso Rabada, Dale Steyn, Imran Tahir and Lungi Ngidi capable of destroying any batting line-up on their day. It could well turn out to be a contest between South Africa’s bowlers and England’s batsmen.

The mighty England team is hard to beat at home, having won their last 8 bilateral series on home turf. Therefore, it would be an uphill task for the South Africa players to punch above their weight. However, if the South Africans do manage to beat the tournament favourites in the very first game, it could open up the tournament in a huge way.

Speaking of form, no team in the world can currently boast of having all their batsmen in top form apart from England, such is the batting prowess the team possesses. Even the tail-enders are capable of contributing with the bat at the end, allowing the team to go berserk right from the start.

However, it would be interesting to see if they follow a similar approach in the World Cup games as well. Their bowlers have gone for plenty recently but that has mainly got to do with the flat pitches in stadiums around England. We can expect something similar in the opening match to be held at the Oval as well. South Africa has been in terrific form themselves this year. With stars like Dale Steyn, JP Duminy and Chris Morris back in the side, the team looks in good shape.

The perennial chokers South Africa take on the tournament favourites and hosts England. (Photo by GEOFF CADDICK / AFP)

Probable XI:

England:

Jonny Bairstow, Jason Roy, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan(C), Jos Buttler (WK), Ben Stokes, Moeen Ali, Jofra Archer, Chris Woakes, Liam Plunkett and Adil Rashid.

South Africa:

Quinton de Kock (WK), Hashim Amla, Faf du Plessis (C), Rassie van der Dussen, David Miller, JP Duminy, Andile Phehlukwayo, Chris Morris, Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi and Imran Tahir.

Pitch Report:

The expected long summer in England is yet to come, which suggests that the pitch would assist the bowlers a bit. There will be swinging conditions early on in the match but the Duke balls to be used in the World Cup do not swing as much as other balls usually do in England. With a hint of cloud over the ground, the better idea would be to bowl first and then assess the target before chasing it down.

Head-to-Head record:

MatchesEng WonSA WonTiedNR
59262913

Last 5 ODIs

Date: 29/5/17

England – 153, South Africa – 156/3

SA won by 7 wickets

Date: 27/5/17

England – 330/6, South Africa – 328/5

ENG won by 2 runs

Date: 24/5/17

England – 339/6, South Africa – 267

England won by 72 runs

Date: 14/2/16

England – 236, South Africa – 237/5

SA won by 5 wickets

Date: 12/2/16

England – 262, South Africa – 266/9

SA won by 1 wicket

Injury Update:

The latest bit of news has been a bit of a setback for South Africa, with the experienced fast bowler Dale Steyn being ruled out of the opener. Steyn has been nursing a shoulder injury and has failed to recover in time for the first match of the Wold Cup against England. The team will be hoping that he can recover quickly and be ready for their next match. All-rounder Chris Morris is expected to come into the team in his place.

News form the England camp is more positive on the injury front, with Adil Rashid being declared “on the verge of being fully fit” for the opener.

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