South Africa succumbed to a disappointing start to their World Cup 2019 campaign, conceding a convincing 104-run defeat against England in the tournament opener at The Oval on Thursday. The home team reached an imposing first innings total on the back of an impressive all-round show by the English batsmen. In the second innings, Jofra Archer got England off to a fantastic start by picking vital wickets with the new ball.
The duo of Quinton de Kock and Rassie van der Dussen then did register half-centuries, but eventually, it were the England bowlers who bowled extremely well to restrict the opposition and in turn guided their team to an emphatic win.
After the match, South African skipper Faf du Plessis revealed that his team got outplayed in all the three departments of the game. While chasing a target of 312 runs, South Africa dealt with a huge blow at the start of their innings as their veteran batsman Hashim Amla was forced to walk off the field after getting hit on the helmet off a fierce shot delivery bowled by Jofra Archer. The duo of Aiden Markram and skipper Faf du Plessis got out quite early, leaving the Proteas in a spot of bother at 44 for 2.
“I think we have been outplayed in all three departments. Basically, we were three down in 12 overs and I think we were looking for 330-340 but when we took the pace off we thought 300 was par,” quoted Faf du Plessis during the post-match press conference.
It was a plan that worked
Du Plessis’ ploy to open the bowling with veteran leg-spinner Imran Tahir worked wonders for South Africa. He bowled a beautiful delivery to dismiss the England opener, Jonny Bairstow, for a golden duck. However, the duo of Jason Roy and Joe Root then combined together to resurrect the England innings with a remarkable stand of 106 runs.
“It was a plan (to start with Tahir). We wanted to target those two openers with leg spin, especially Roy. It worked today. Their batting was really good. They are a top-quality team and they showed that with the bat today,” du Plessis mentioned.
“You need a bit of momentum in the first two games. He (Amla) is okay now and when he came back to the dressing room, he looked fine and hopefully that’s a good sign for the next game. When we have Dale Steyn and all our resources, we back our bowling to restrict teams under 300,” the South African skipper concluded.