Date & Time: Thursday, May 30, 15:00 IST
Venue: Kennington Oval, London, England
THE WAIT IS FINALLY OVER!
South Africa is all set to take on the hosts, England in the 12th edition of ICC ODI World Cup 2019. It’s the battle of this year’s favourites against the all time World Cup ‘chokers’. Both the teams have not had a lot of success when it comes to ODI/World Cup, but as they say it is the present which matters and not the past.
South Africa was dealt a huge blow yesterday as Dale Steyn, their veteran was declared unfit for the first game. Tabraiz Shamsi, Aiden Markram/Rassie van der Dussen and Dwaine Pretorius might be the other 3 players who are likely to miss out for South Africa. There were no real injury concern for England as both Eoin Morgan and Mark Wood were passed fit for the match. James Vince, Liam Dawson, Tom Curran and Mark Wood/Liam Plunkett may be the unlucky ones to miss out from England.
The Kennington Oval, which is the venue for the inaugural match, like most venues in this World Cup tournament is expected to be a high scoring pitch. Top order batting holds the key for both teams but as Faf du Plessis mentioned in the press conference, it may well be the team which bowls better that will emerge victorious.
Jason Roy has scored more centuries (4) than any other English cricketer in the last 12 months in ODI cricket. He has been in great form in the couple of warm up games, and if he bats at least 20 overs tomorrow, then it means that the South African bowlers have a huge task cut out. He was one of the main players who was drafted into the squad after England’s 2015 World Cup debacle and he could well be the reason for them being tagged as ‘favorites’ in this edition of the World Cup.
It’s been almost 4 months since we last saw Hashim Amla in colored clothes playing for South Africa. But in a couple of warm up games ahead of the clash against England, he looked like he was playing all along. Some of his shots reminded us of the vintage Hashim Amla, who toiled the bowlers with his impeccable wrist work and placements enroute to a couple of half centuries. He has scored 228 runs in 5 matches at Kennington Oval, which is the best ever aggregate for a South African batsman at this venue.
Faf du Plessis
The South African Skipper has an ODI average of 60.77 in last 2 years. He has handled the pressure of AB de Villiers missing from the middle order batting well by playing some match winning knocks. Further, the lower middle order is not as strong as it used to be for South Africa since JP Duminy and David Miller are not consistency with their performance. A lot lies on the shoulder of Faf du Plessis and we are sure he will have a memorable World Cup with the bat.
Jonny Bairstow has scored 12 scores of 50 or more in the last 2 years and he has converted 7 of them to 3 digit mark, which is the most for any English cricketer in ODI cricket. His stint with SunRisers Hyderabad went exactly as planned for him as he amassed 445 runs in just 10 innings with an unbelievable strike rate of 157.24. He along with Jason Roy at the top of the order have an average of 73.46 in the last 12 months which includes 5 scores of 100+ partnerships.