England have been labelled as the hot favourites to win the World Cup 2019 courtesy of their domination in 50-over cricket for the last couple of years. England are the currently the top-ranked ODI side and have a well-settled squad for the World Cup. On the other hand, South Africa faced few injury issues ahead of the mega cricketing event and will also miss Dale Steyn in their opening game of the tournament against the hosts England at The Oval on Thursday.
English batting line has been in top form. With Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow at the top of the order, they can destroy any bowling line and they have been doing this quite frequently. There are Joe Root and Eoin Morgan at three and four, who can provide stability and can be aggressive if needed. Then there are Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler, who can score easily at 10 runs per over at the death overs.
However, it will not be easy for English batting line to score freely against the dynamic South African bowling attack led by Kagiso Rabada. Moreover, they have Lungi Ngidi, who has been impressive since making his debut. In the spin department, Imran Tahir is an experienced campaigner and is a genuine wicket-taker, English batsmen should be wary of his presence. Proteas may go for Chris Morris as Steyn’s replacement, who can be a weak link for them.
Talking about South African batting, they have got one of the best opening pairs in the world in the likes of Hashim Amla and Quinton de Kock. They both compliment each other beautifully, one being the aggressor and the other being the anchor. Following them are Aiden Markram, skipper Faf du Plessis and JP Duminy, who all have done brilliantly for their team. For the finisher’s role, they have David Miller, who is considered as one of the most explosive batsmen of the world cricket. Their batting line is surely a force to reckon.
England have been relying heavily on their batting to win matches. Recently, Pakistan, who do not have the strongest of batting lines, were able to score over 350 runs consistently in the ODI series ahead of the World Cup. Jofra Archer and Chris Woakes will be the key for England’s success against South Africa in the opening game. Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali have been doing well, but Proteas have some players like Du Plessis and Duminy, who can play spin well. The contest is expected to be between England’s batting against South Africa’s bowling.
Players to watch out for
England: Jonny Bairstow, he will set the tone for the rest of England’s batting line
South Africa: Kagiso Rabada, the pacer has been a phenomenal performer for his side, it will not be easy for England’s top-order to go after them
Previous World Cup meetings between the two teams
Total games: 6
England won: 3
South Africa won: 3
South Africa to win the contest.