Image Credits: ICC/Cricket World Cup 2019
At last, after all the talks and the analysis, the World Cup 2019 begins on Thursday at The Oval. Ten teams, 48 matches for the next seven weeks and only one winner in the first World Cup staged in this country in 20 years.
This contest will be a highly anticipated first match as the home side England will be taking on the so-called Chokers, South Africa. England is currently ranked number one in the world and will be hoping to dominate at home. On the other side, South Africa will be looking to clinch their first ever World Cup and make history.
If Kevin Peterson compares this team to Ricky Ponting’s Australian team that lifted two World Cups, then there ought to be something special with this English World Cup squad. He compared Hayden, Gilchrist and Ponting to Bairstow, Roy and Buttler.
Englishmen have been in great form since the last World Cup, winning 17 out of their 22. Even though they lost one of their practice matches against Australia, English batsmen have looked in great touch with Jason Roy and Johnny Bairstow leading the batting line-up from the top.
Mark Wood is still recovering from the injury he got during a practice match and may sit out with Jofra Archer and Chris Woakes taking the new ball. Adil Rashid will be the most experienced bowler in the squad and also the prime spinner for the team with Moeen Ali as the second spin option.
Probable XI for England:
Jason Roy, Johnny Bairstow, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan, Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes, Jofra Archer, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid.
South Africa have won 16 out of 21 ODI and are coming into the tournament without much fuss. Albeit, they could play only one warm-up match against Sri Lanka and were impressive in all departments. With Amla and de Kock leading the batting unit, their rest of the lineup also looks sharp and solid.
Dale Steyn is still recovering from his shoulder injury and will not be playing the first match but, this won’t trouble the team as they have some excellent pace attack with likes of Rabada, Ngidi and Andile Phehlukwayo. Imran Tahir will bring in the guile with his leg spin that would surely help the bowling department. This bowling attack can bowl out any team on a suitable surface.
Probable XI for South Africa:
Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock, Aiden Markram, Faf du Plessis, JP Duminy, David Miller, Chris Morris, Andile Phehlukwayo, Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi, Imran Tahir.
Dream XI Prediction:
- Wicket-Keeper: Jos Buttler
- Batsmen: Faf du Plessis (VC), Aiden Markram, Jason Roy (C), Eoin Morgan
- All-rounders: Ben Stokes, JP Duminy
- Bowlers: Imran Tahir, Kagiso Rabada, Adil Rashid, Liam Plunkett
A lot will be on stakes for both the teams as this will be their first match, and both of them would like to start with a win. Oval has been a batting-friendly track, but a bit of grass was seen on the pitch which if not removed, might help the bowlers.
Teams in practice matches have chosen to chase as the bowl comes nicely onto the bat under the lights as compared to batting first. So, the Toss will be crucial for both the teams.
ENG to beat SA