South Africa restricted England to 311 for eight in the World Cup opener at the Oval on Thursday as the tournament hosts and favourites made a stuttering start in their quest to win the trophy for the first time.Ben Stokes top-scored with 89, while England captain Eoin Morgan (57), Jason Roy (54) and Joe Root (51) all made fifties.
But England, who last year set a world record for the highest one-day international total of 481-6 and have often blown teams away with the bat, were repeatedly pegged back by a Proteas side who deployed the slower ball to good effect.England, after Britain’s Prince Harry officially opened the tournament, lost a wicket second ball before Roy and Root shared a stand of 106 that was equalled by Morgan and Stokes.South Africa captain Faf du Plessis, despite being without injured spearhead Dale Steyn, saw his decision to field rewarded in dramatic style when Imran Tahir struck with just the second ball of the match to dismiss Jonny Bairstow for a golden duck.
But Du Plessis gave the ball to 40-year-old leg-spinner Tahir, the oldest player in the tournament, instead and a well-flighted delivery had Bairstow edging to wicket-keeper Quinton de Kock, with the Pakistan-born Tahir running off in a semi-circle — his familiar celebration.Roy and Root were both in fine touch and England would have wanted at least one of them to go on to a big score.But from 107-1, England lost two wickets for four runs in four balls.-batted an intended pull off Andile Phehlukwayo to Du Plessis at mid-off before Root steered Rabada to backward point, where JP Duminy held a sharp catch.
Morgan, whose aggressive approach has been symbolic of England’s rise to the top of the one-day international rankings after their woeful first-round exit at the 2015 World Cup, struck the first two sixes of the match off successive balls from fast bowler Lungi Ngidi.South Africa star batsman Hashim Amla retired hurt after being hit by a Jofra Archer bouncer in the World Cup opener against England at the Oval on Thursday.Amla had made five when he missed an intended pull off the fast bowler, the ball crashing into the grille of his helmet after he was beaten for sheer speed. He had several minutes of on-field treatment before walking off.
The Proteas were then 14 without loss in the fourth over chasing 312 to win on an Oval ground where Amla made a South Africa record 311 not out in a Test against England in 2012.It was uncertain whether Amla would bat again in the innings, with a statement issued by Cricket South Africa on their Twitter feed saying: “@amlahash has been assessed and is doing fine.” It added: “Due to the sensitive nature of head injuries, he will undergo another reassessment during the course of the innings which will give an indication of his further participation in the match.”