10.30 pm: What an absolutely authoritative performance from the hosts. Favourites for a reason. On day 2, we will see two unpredictable teams take the field. West Indies or Pakistan? We will find out. Thanks for joining us.

South Africa captain Faf du Plessis: We were outplayed in all three departments. Thought 300 was a par score, looked like they might get 340 but in the end we were just bowling cutters basically, pace off was working. There were some real good batting performances from England. Tahir at the top was a plan against Roy and Bairstow; just wanted to throw something different at them, they are good players of pace bowling, and it worked. The bowling was really good, we kept getting wickets, but when chasing we need partnerships, and losing Amla, was a momentum-breaker. He’s okay now, when he came off he was a bit all over the place, we were a bit worried about him, but hopefully he’s okay now.

England captain Eoin Morgan: Delighted to be up and running. When you put in a performance like that it’s all the more satisfying. The maturity and smart cricket while batting showed our improvement in the last few overs. Extremely impressed [with Stokes] with the bat and that catch was outstanding. The bowlers were great. On a slowish pitch Archer bowled fast and accurate. He is improving every day. Huge amount of pleasure from our fielding display.

More from Ben Stokes: (On the pitch) The message from the batsmen in the middle was that it was a tricky pitch to bat on, so the aim was to get to 300-310. Maybe 330. I was looking to just pace it. The hard length was difficult and obviously, the slower balls and all. Towards the end, they (SA bowlers) were really hard to get away. I guess psychologically getting over the 300-run mark really helped. And then, our bowlers knew what to do and they executed well. (On the crowd support) It was unbelievable, excellent turnaround for the first World Cup and hope it continues.Aditya • 1 min

10.17 pm: Player of the match, Ben Stokes. Duh.

On *that* catch: It was probably a regulation catch had I been standing a little deeper. I panicked a bit but glad it stuck.

10.09 pm: England are overwhelming favourites for a reason. South Africa, one of the teams touted to finish top four, have been absolutely hammered. And what a day for Stokes. 89 runs off 79 balls with the bat. 2/12 with the ball. One run-out and two catches in the field - one of them an all-time classic

IT’S ALL OVER: England defeat South Africa by 104 runs

Back-to-back wickets!! Ben Stokes dismisses Rabada and Imran Tahir off sucessive balls.

“Ben Stokes with the runs, Ben Stokes in the field, Ben Stokes with the ball”: Isa Guha has summed this match up perfectly!

South Africa 199/8 after 39 overs: Ngidi 6, Rabada 7

Plunkett comes back into the attack and strikes first up. Amla is caught behind and he walks, as he almost always does. Just a formality now for England to wrap this up. Plunkett has his 2nd wicket.

Ngidi comes out to bat and plays one of the shots of the day, a straight six with his back leg off the ground. Full swagger.

South Africa 193/7 after 38 overs: Amla 13, Rabada 7

The crowd are having a grand old time at The Oval now as England inch closer to a big win (the beers are starting to kick in). This is turning into quite a beating for the Proteas.

South Africa 183/7 after 36 overs: Amla 9, Rabada 1

As if to drive home the point that Stokes can do it all, Morgan throws him the ball and he bowls a tidy one-run over.

South Africa 182/7 after 35 overs - BEN STOKES, WHAT HAVE YOU DONE!

“You cannot do that, Ben Stokes. You cannot do that,” says Nasser on air as Ben Stokes pulls off one of the greatest catches of all time. A stunning one-handed grab at deep midwicket to dismiss Phehlukwayo.

South Africa 180/6 after 34 overs: Phehlukwayo 24, Amla 7

A boundary in each of the last two overs for Phehlukwayo, as SA just about stay alive in this match. Time for drinks at The Oval with England well and truly on top.

South Africa 167/6 after 32 overs: ARCHER STRIKES!

What a bowler. Comes back into the attack and bowls a wicket-maiden. Unbelievable that some thought he should not be in the England XI until recently. Another sharp short ball, the well-set vdD hits it straight to Moeen Ali at mid-on.

South Africa 167/5 after 31 overs: Fifty for van der Dussen

Good little innings from SA middle order batsman. Has given a good account of himself. Phehlukwayo survives a review in that over as Rashid and CO thought they had their man.

South Africa 166/5 after 30 overs: if SA double this from here, they will win.

Easier said than done though. A couple of boundaries in that Moeen Ali over, one each for the two batsmen. Much-needed push for the South Africans.

South Africa 156/5 after 29 overs: van der Dussen 44, Phehlukwayo 9

Ali concedes just four singles and Morgan brings back Rashid from the other end. Phehlukwayo hits a four in that over to release some pressure.

South Africa 146/5 after 27 overs: Pretorius dismissed

Oh dear, this is Peak South Africa. Stokes is making his presence felt on the field. A Good throw catches Pretorius short as South Africa try to complete the double. The middle order has unravelled. And no Amla yet, Phehlukwayo walks out.

South Africa 142/4 after 26 overs: Duminy dismissed

“Unbelievable shot from Duminy,” says Atherton on air. No better way to put it. After hitting an elegant four over midwicket, Duminy casually comes down the pitch and lofts one to Ben Stokes at long off. Bizarre shot. Poor cricket from South Africa. Moeen Ali strikes.

South Africa 137/3 after 25 overs: van der Dussen 39, Duminy 4

Can JP Duminy bring his experience into play here? England will be sensing that they are just two more wickets away from entering SA’s tail. Six runs from Ali’s over followed by 2 from Plunkett. Interesting tidbit on air that Plunkett played the 2007 World Cup and then missed two editions, now back in 2019. That’s quite a story.

South Africa 129/3 after 23 overs: PLUNKETT STRIKES!

BIG WICKET! Massive moment in the game as Liam Plunkett removes Quinton de Kock. The left-hander pulls it straight to Joe Root in the deep. He departs for 68 off 74. That was a lazy shot, targetting the biggest boundary in the ground. The partnership was going so well for SA and this is a blow that they did not. Kallis, on air, was just saying SA needed QdK to play a 100-plus knock.

South Africa 125/2 after 22 overs: de Kock 67, van der Dussen 32

BIG OVER. Moeen Ali goes for 16 in one over as vdD starts the over with a straight six (that almost led to Joe Root losing his way behind the sight-screen). The SA batsman then hits two more fours behind the wicket.

Update on Hashim Amla: “He has been assessed and is doing fine. Due to the sensitive nature of head injuries, he will undergo another re-assessment during the course of the innings which will give an indication of his further participation in the match.” Pollock sounds relieved on air.

South Africa 109/2 after 21 overs: de Kock 66, van der Dussen 17

Another good over from Moeen Ali, just two singles come from it. The South Africans are having to earn each run here. Pressure being built by England. QdK realises he needs to find some quick runs, perhaps off the pacers. Starts the Plunkett over with a four through square leg and then a superb six over long off later in the over. Two top shots. 12 runs from that over. Good partnership this.

South Africa 95/2 after 19 overs: de Kock 54, van der Dussen 15

Plunkett comes into the attack, replacing Rashid. Risk-free six runs for South Africa as this duo bring up their fifty partnership. It’s been mostly QdK scoring the runs though.

South Africa 89/2 after 18 overs: de Kock 50, van der Dussen 13

FIFTY FOR QdK! He’s been the sole bright spot for South Africa with the bat so far. Gets to his 22nd ODI fifty to continue his great form in this format. Good over from Ali though, just three of it.

Meanwhile, how about this for a reunion in the commentary box!

South Africa 86/2 after 17 overs: de Kock 49, van der Dussen 11

QdK starts with a four, putting away a ball on his pads past the fielder at short-fine leg. Meanwhile, Shaun Pollock believes vdD is not picking Rashid at the moment and the SA rookie needs to fight through this phase to give himself a chance against the pacers.

Time for drinks.

South Africa 79/2 after 16 overs: de Kock 43, van der Dussen 10

A boundary for vdD to relieve pressure on him and South Africa. Takes on Moeen Ali and plays a powerful reverse sweep for four.. Tries it again later in the over but finds the fielder.

South Africa 74/2 after 15 overs: de Kock 42, van der Dussen 6

DROPPED! Luck is smiling on Proteas for the moment as it’s now vdD’s turn to receive a reprieve. Natural variation from Moeen Ali as the ball stays in its line, there is a healthy outside edge but Buttler puts it down. He then lets one through his legs for four byes but that kept quite low. At the other end, Rashid bowls another solid over.

South Africa 66/2 after 13 overs: de Kock 38, van der Dussen 6

Spin from both ends, surprisingly from Morgan. Moeen Ali is into the attack; South Africa get their first maximum of the innings and it comes from de Kock’s bat. Moeen Ali tosses one up and the left-hander slog-sweeps it all the way. Rashid concedes four runs off his second over. Can SA build a partnership here? They desperately need one.

South Africa 51/2 after 11 overs: de Kock 29, van der Dussen 0

OH DEAR! An IPL deja vu there as QdK gets a massive reprieve. Misses a googly, the ball keeps low and hits the stumps but the bails don’t fall off. Very unlucky Adil Rashid to not have a wicket in the first over.

South Africa 44/2 after 10 overs: de Kock 23, van der Dussen 0 - ARCHER STRIKES AGAIN!

JOFRA ARCHER, WHAT A PLAYER! Any doubts over his place in the England squad, now? Yeah, didn’t think so. Another superb bouncer, top speed and Faf du Plessis pulls it straight to the fielder at long leg. What an opening spell from Archer.

South Africa 43/1 after 9 overs: de Kock 22, du Plessis 5

Good over from Woakes, just three runs off it. This is the partnership that could win the match for South Africa, when you consider they have only six proper batsmen in their line-up.

South Africa 40/1 after 8 overs: - Archer removes Markram!

Typical Markram. The right-hander gets another four past covers but when he looks good, he doesn’t carry on. Once again top speed from Archer, short of length and some extra bounce, Markram edges it to Root at second sip. That was a sharp delivery from Archer. Faf is the new man in and gets going with a boundary.

South Africa 31/0 after 7 overs: de Kock 19, Markram 7

Markram has middled most of the balls he has faced since walking out but kept finding the fielders. In that over, finally gets one through the cover region for his first boundary. Top shot. Roy made sure earlier that there would not be another boundary with a superb stop at point.

South Africa 26/0 after 6 overs: de Kock 18, Markram 3

Another sharp over from Jofra Archer, just the 4 runs from it. It really is fascinating to watch him jog in and generate that kind of pace. There was another superb bouncer to QdK who sways away. Archer has figures of 0/10 from 3 overs at the moment.

South Africa 22/0 after 5 overs: de Kock 17, Markram 0

With Woakes bowling a steady fourth stump line, QdK adjusts beautifully to stay leg side of the ball and gets two boundaries in that over. Great tactical battle at the moment. Two superb shots from the Proteas opener.

South Africa 14/0 after 3.5 overs: de Kock 9, Amla 5 - AMLA RETIRED HURT

A break in play in that over as Archer bowls a searing bouncer that hits Amla flush on the helmet grill. The physio is out to have a look and make sure there is no concussion. He needs a change of helmet. Scratch that, he is walking off the field. Concussion test must have not been positive. He walks off rubbing his forehead. Hope that is nothing serious There was a boundary early in the over, a clever dab past the second slip for a four through third man. England are already starting to change their pace, with Archer bowling a slower ball in that over.

South Africa 10/0 after 3 overs: de Kock 9, Amla 1

The first boundary of the innings comes from the outside edge of QdK’s bat. Short of length, slower ball from Woakes and the cut shot evades the gloves of Buttler. England had just taken the first slip off while Faf had two slips for the majority of the first powerplay.

South Africa 4/0 after 2 overs: de Kock 3, Amla 1

Another good over, this time Archer concedes two singles. Accurate start from England. And sharp on the field too, a certain boundary saved in that over at point.

South Africa 2/0 after 1 over: de Kock 2, Amla 0

Good over from Woakes as he beats QdK off the last ball. Just two runs off that over, a double through square leg. There was a crowd catch as well.

7.15 pm: Right, we are all set for the run-chase. Chris Woakes will start off for England. Quinton de Kock and Hashim Amla, under some pressure, will open for South Africa.

7.11 pm: Here’s the innings report in case you are just reaching home and tuning into the World Cup.


England would still consider themselves favourites to win this match despite a slightly underwhelming finish to their innings: 111 runs in the last 15 overs. South Africa’s batting line-up does not inspire confidence, especially their lack of depth. But, you never know. All they need is one top-order batsman to get set and make it count: something no one but Stokes managed to do for England.

Join us shortly for the run-chase...

6.47 pm: We hear from one of the four England half-centurions in that match.

Joe Root: “It isn’t a straight-forward wicket. Hopefully, there’s enough in it for our bowlers to exploit. It was nice to get a few runs today. Like I said, you never really felt set on that pitch. I feel we’re in a pretty good position at this point.”


Archer powers one through extra cover off the first ball he faces for a four but its another good over all said and done. He finishes with 2/66. A good contest at The Oval with South Africa producing a tactically astute bowling display to “restrict” England to 311/8. (That’s the 2019 edition of World Cup for you). Liam Plunkett remains not out on 9 off 6 and Jofra Archer on 7 off 3.

England 300/8 in 49 overs - STOKES GONE!

Ngidi strikes with the final ball of his spell and finishes with 3/66. Great effort from the youngster in his first World Cup match. Stokes tries to reverse-pull over short-third but cannot clear the fielder. Lovely bowling, just six runs from that over.

Archer walks out as Rabada gets ready for the final over.

England 294/6 in 48 overs: Stokes 84, Woakes 4

WICKET! WOAKES DISMISSED! This is just great stuff from South Africa, hitting the pitch hard at the death and forcing England to search for boundaries. Woakes falls under the pressure of looking for the big shot, Rabada strikes. Stokes then finds a much-needed boundary off the fourth ball to release some pressure. Not a bad over for England as Plunkett hits his first ball for a four.

England 284/6 in 47 overs: Stokes 79, Woakes 13

CLOSE CALL! Phehlukwayo thinks he has caught and bowled Woakes and there is a late appeal for a catch. The replays show it was indeed chipped in the air by Woakes but the ball had bounced before the bowler. Boos from the crowd as the third umpire calls not out. A few wides in that over as Phehlukwayo misses his radar with the wide yorker but still no boundaries in that over.

England 275/6 in 46 overs: Stokes 77, Woakes 9

A couple of shots in anger from Stokes in that over off Rabada but it’s Woakes who ends the mini-boundary drought. Good over for England, given their slowdown in the past few overs. SA, though, still not letting things get away from them.

England 265/6 in 45 overs: Stokes 75, Woakes 2

Good over from Phehlukwayo. This is not the England we are used to seeing in the recent past, the pressure of the World Cup one supposes but even the pitch is not flat. This has been a good contest. Stokes must be itching to shift gears though, anything less than 300 would still not be good enough one thinks.

England 260/6 in 44 overs: Stokes 70, Woakes 0

ANOTHER WICKET FOR NGIDI, ANOTHER SUPERB CATCH! Captain du Plessis takes a superb catch at long on, as Ali flicks one in the air. Faf was running to his left, dived and reverse-cupped while taking a tumble. A good over from Ngidi where he changed the pace regularly.

England 257/5 in 43 overs: Stokes 70, Ali 2

Imran Tahir finishes his spell with 2/61 for the day. Good figures in what is likely to be a high-scoring match. Stokes and Ali are a bit watchful at the moment, perhaps looking to get to 45 before cutting loose.

England 250/5 in 42 overs

Ngidi, though, continues to struggle with his length and gives away wide. Tentative start for Moeen Ali at the crease.

England 247/5 in 41.2 overs – BUTTLER IS GONE!

That was a soft dismissal. The England wicketkeeper drags on a slower one from Ngidi and South Africa have their fifth. This might put the brakes on the scoring at such a crucial stage.

J Buttler b Ngidi 18(16)

England 246/4 in 41 overs: (Stokes 62, Buttler 16)

11 from the Tahir over. Stokes continues to go strong. Here, he plays a strong back-foot punch through point for a boundary. Buttler continues to pinch ones and twos.

England 235/4 in 40 overs: (Stokes 56, Buttler 13)

Amla is having a shocker on the field and another misfield allows the batsmen to take a couple of more runs. Buttler is looking to tickle the ball into the gaps. No signs of any big hits so far. Another productive over for England, eight from it.

Lungi Ngidi is back into the attack

England 227/4 in 39 overs: (Stokes 54, Buttler 7)
OHH, CLOSE! Buttler’s bat turns in his hands and he almost scoops one straight back to Tahir but the ball evades the bowler’s reach. He’s not the best of fielders and that does not help. A better catcher would have got there, you’d think. Reprieve for Buttler.

England 222/4 in 38 overs: (Stokes 53, Buttler 3)

Rabada vs Buttler! This could be the contest that defines this match. Buttler tries to get off strike early in the over and Stokes is almost run out, a direct hit and he was gone. Tahir from the other end.

5.40 pm: The man of the moment for England is out in the middle.

England 217/4 in 37 overs: (Stokes 51, Buttler 0) - BREAKTHROUGH!

Proteas get the breakthrough and it’s that man Imran Tahir once again, who’s circling The Oval in celebration. Morgan steps out and drives it in the air, Markram comes running in from long-on and takes a blinder, diving forward. Morgan departs for 57 off 60. Another England batsman gets to 50 and walks back.

Out walks Buttler, though. Fireworks, imminent.

England 213/3 in 36 overs: (Morgan 54, Stokes 50)

FIFTY FOR BEN STOKES! Big Ben is now bringing out all the fancy shots. A superb scoop behind the wicket off Pretorius to bring up his fifty. That was his third boundary of the over as he goes on the charge. England clearly changing gears now.

England 200/3 in 35 overs: (Morgan 53, Stokes 38)

The double century is up for England and they are on the charge now. Watch out, folks. Stokes hits a four off Phehlukwayo.

England 192/3 in 34 overs: (Morgan 52, Stokes 31)

Pretorius comes back into the attack and gives away 5 runs in his 6th over. Eoin Morgan and Ben Stokes have now added 81 runs off 74 balls for the 4th wicket. With Jos Buttler still to come, England are on track for another big score.

Time for drinks.

England 187/3 in 33 overs: (Morgan 50, Stokes 28)

Another boundary for Eoin Morgan and he brings up a run-a-ball fifty. A well-placed pull shot off Phehlukwayo, who returns to the attack. Faf has had enough with his spinners for the moment at least. Pretorius from the other end now.

England 182/3 in 32 overs: (Morgan 46, Stokes 27)

Just when you thought South Africa were getting a few good overs in, Markram concedes 11 runs in the 32nd over. That might be the end of the experimentation phase. A four for Stokes and then a massive six for Morgan. What a player he is when he gets going. In his slot, slogged over midwicket high and long.

CORRECTION: England 170/3 in 30 overs: (Morgan 40, Stokes 22)

Markram has bowled two very good overs of part-time finger spin, going for two and three runs respectively. In between those two overs, Tahir comes back and Stokes hits the first boundary of the match. A booming cover drive. Stokes has been a different player of late, more patient and less flamboyant. More of that from him so far.

Can England double their score from here in 30 overs?

England 158/3 in 27 overs: (Morgan 35, Stokes 15)

JP Duminy gives away four singles from the first four balls of his second over, but he strays in line after that and Eoin Morgan sweeps it past short-fine for four. Morgan has raced to 35. 10 runs come from that over. South Africa are losing their grip once again. And now, Markram comes into bowl his part-time spin. Is du Plessis missing a trick by not going for the wickets at the moment?

England 148/3 in 26 overs: (Morgan 27, Stokes 13)

Captain Morgan steps up and how! Back-to-back sixes and two superb shots! The left-hander steps out to smack Lungi Ngidi straight back for a maximum, before pulling the next one all the way. Top batting, poor bowling. That first six was a delightful shot. Morgan is in great touch from the first ball. Ngidi finishes the over with a good slower ball to beat Stokes.

England 135/3 in 25 overs: (Morgan 14, Stokes 13)

JP Duminy comes in for a bowl and concedes just four runs. Good call you would think from Faf du Plessis to get a couple of overs out of his off-spinner with two left-handers at the crease.

Ngidi from the other end.

England 131/3 in 24 overs: (Morgan 7, Stokes 5)

Risk-free six-run over for England off Tahir. Ngidi returns from the other end and Morgan plays a superb straight drive for four. The over finishes with a chip that falls short of Ngidi in his followthrough, he has a wry smile on his face.

England 120/3 in 22 overs: (Morgan 7, Stokes 5)

South Africa’s two best wicket-takers bowling in tandem as Tahir comes back for a second spell. Concedes just three singles followed by a tight over from Rabada. This is a different challenge for this English batting lineup.

England 112/3 in 20 overs: (Morgan 4, Stokes 1) - DOUBLE BREAKTHROUGH!

What a move from Faf du Plessis once again. Brings on Rabada when the wicket fell and is rewarded first ball with the big wicket of Joe Root! The two well-set batsman have been dismissed in the space of four balls. England have been pecked back. Rabada bowls a terrific over, finishing it with a peach that beats Morgan.

England 111/2 in 19 overs: (Root 51, Morgan 4) - BREAKTHROUGH!

Shaun Pollock was talking about the wicket-taking abilities of Phehlukwayo earlier and it’s that man who produces the breakthrough. Just as Roy was getting going, he is dismissed because of a loose shot. Lazy almost. Cross-seam ball, miscued to midoff where Faf takes a easy catch. Much-needed for South Africa.

England 102/1 in 18 overs: (Roy 50, Root 50)

FIFTY FOR JASON ROY! No that’s not a typo, his earlier fifty had to rescinded because it was leg bye. (Just one more reason to ban leg byes, really). Later in the over, Joe Root gets to his FIFTY as well with a single. Off 56 balls. Good over from Pretorius though.

England 100/1 in 17 overs: (Roy 50, Root 49)

FIFTY FOR JASON ROY! His 15th in ODIs and it’s come off in 48 balls. Looked edgy early on but he is in good touch now. And he can shift gears at the drop of a hat. A close run-out call in that over as Roy took off for a quick single and put in a dive but was safe.

England 96/1 in 16 overs: (Roy 48, Root 47)

Time to start getting worried South Africa fans, Roy is finding his groove. It’s been a patient innings by his standards but he is starting to free his arms. A boundary off Pretorius, lofted off drive. Phehlukwayo is now into the attack and South Africa will be hoping for a breakthrough soon.

England 83/1 in 14 overs: (Roy 41, Root 41)

Kagiso Rabada drops it slightly short and the right-hander plays a short-arm pull through mid-wicket for four. A good over spoiled off the last ball. Seven runs from it.

Pretorius then follows that up with a three-run over. The run-scoring rate is not an issue for England at the moment given their depth. South Africa will start to worry now.

England 72/1 in 12 overs: (Roy 33, Root 38)

A solid over from Pretorius, started off with four dot balls. Then a short ball is put away for four through midwicket. Roy has not looked at his fluent best today but that shot was superb.

England 68/1 in 11 overs: (Roy 29, Root 38)

Rabada continues and Root plays another classic shot, driving down the ground for four. He has looked in superb touch from the word go. Rabada almost traps Roy plumb in front with an attempted yorker but the bat’s edge saves the batsman.

Will England now look to accelerate? Target Pretorius perhaps?

England 60/1 in 10 overs: (Roy 28, Root 31)

Roy looks to have a go at Pretorius , dancing down the track but does not connect. A decent first over from the all-rounder.

South Africa, though, would have taken this scoreline before the match started one thinks. England have not been allowed to do their thing in the powerplay.

England 55/1 in 9 overs: (Roy 27, Root 27)

Fifty comes up for England and then the fifty partnership too with a boundary for Root. Pull shot, speeds away down square leg. Faf has persisted with two slips throughout the powerplay and perhaps a gully would have made more sense after we did not see any seam movement early on.

Pretorius comes on.

England 49/1 in 8 overs: (Roy 26, Root 22)

Roy gets another boundary, a lovely punch through covers off Ngidi. There is a hint of spongy bounce on the pitch and after hitting a few uppishly early on, Roy seems to have caught the hang of his home wicket.

England 43/1 in 7 overs: (Roy 21, Root 21)

In comes the star of this South African bowling unit, Rabada. Roy hits a lovely straight drive off the first ball. But Rabada returns with five dot balls. Hitting the right lengths right away.

England 39/1 in 6 overs: (Roy 17, Root 21)

This now has the makings of a good partnership for England. Another decent over from Ngidi spoiled by one bad ball, as Roy put away one on his pads for a four through fine leg. Ngidi went for a bouncer then and was harshly called a wide.

England 29/1 in 5 overs: (Roy 10, Root 19)

Good over for England as they take on Tahir and that is probably the end of the surprise first spell for the leggie. First ball, Roy shows intent again and powers a square cut for four. Root then hits his third boundary, a sweep that should have been fielded by Amla. Root almost mishit a full toss straight to the fielder at midwicket.

England 16/1 in 4 overs: (Roy 5, Root 11)

Ngidi continues and gets Roy and Root to play uppishly through the point region once each. Both evade Duminy, with Root’s shot falling just short of him. The England No 3 does hit a boundary in that over and he is looking busy already. Hits a short ball through square leg and it speeds over to the fence.

England 11/1 in 3 overs: (Roy 4, Root 7)

Tahir continues. Roy is looking not to get bogged down by the early wicket. A couple of aggressive shots in the over but no boundaries. Four singles in that over.

England 7/1 in 2 overs: (Roy 2, Root 5)

After a disciplined start, Ngidi bowls the first loose ball of the match and it’s Root who hits the first of many boundaries of the World Cup. On the up, drivable length and Root plays a stunning cover drive to ease England’s nerves.

3.08 pm: None of us wished for a spinner to open the bowling, for the record.

England 1/1 in 1 over: (Roy 1, Root 0)

What a start to this World Cup. What a call from Faf. A couple of skidders to Root as well that had the bowler interested. Tahir has provided a dream start to South Africa.

Ngidi from the other end.

England 1/1 in 0.2 overs - IMRAN TAHIR STRIKES!

WOW, Imran Tahir is off and running in the World Cup in style. Jonny Bairstow is gone first ball! WHAT A START! Hint of turn and Bairstow edges one to Quinton de Kock.

3.00 pm: Well, well, well. Imran Tahir will be bowling the first over! Surprise move from South Africa already.

2.58 pm: We’ll start the tournament with the explosive pair of Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow, fittingly. Expect fireworks.

Ever since Bairstow replaced Alex Hales as Roy’s opening partner, the duo have formed a destructive partnership at the top. In the 26 ODI innings they have opened in together, their average partnership is 64.72 – the highest of any openers in the history of ODI cricket (minimum 20 innings), according to ICC. They also have seven hundred and seven fifty partnerships in that time.

2.57 pm: Right, it’s time folks. The teams are out on the field. We’re minutes away from the first ball. The national anthems are done.

2.53 pm: We’ll see England’s batsmen vs South Africa’s bowlers first up. Here are the top 5 England batsmen and South Africa bowlers in the last four years.

Since April 2015

layer  Matches [Innings] Runs [50s/100s] Average/Strike-rate
Joe Root 78 [74] 3498 [10/22] 58.3/91.04
Eoin Morgan 81 [75] 3039 [5/23] 46.75/98.47
Jason Roy 76 [74] 2938 [8/14] 40.8/106.29
Jos Buttler 76 [61] 2251 [7/11] 50.02/124.84
Alex Hales 61 [58] 2229 [6/14] 40.52/97.72

Since April 2015

Player Matches [Innings] Wickets [5-fors / 4-fors] Average / Strike-rate
Kagiso Rabada 65 [65] 106 [1 / 6] 26.43 / 31.8
Imran Tahir 59 [59] 92 [2 / 1] 27.03 / 33.7
Andile Phehlukwayo 43 [42] 54 [0 / 3] 29.62 / 31.5
Lungi Ngidi 18 [18] 34 [0 / 2] 21.64 / 24.3
Dale Steyn 21 [21] 34 [0 / 0] 27.76 / 32.2

2.43 pm: A closer look at the numbers in ODIs since the 2015 World Cup offers more evidence that the 2019 edition is going to witness a run-fest. Read here.

Run-scoring in ODIs since April 2015

Host Country Runs per over while batting No of centuries scored
in England 6.07 46
in Australia 5.73 31
in Sri Lanka 5.67 18
in South Africa 5.62 39
in India 5.6 44
in New Zealand 5.54 23
in Ireland 5.31 14
in West Indies 5.26 21
in Bangladesh 5.09 15
in UAE 4.89 40
in Zimbabwe 4.74 32
ODIs in England have witnessed the highest RPO as well the most centuries scored in last four years

2.38 pm: TEAM NEWS

South Africa playing XI: Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock (w), Aiden Markram, Faf du Plessis (c), Rassie van der Dussen, Jean-Paul Duminy, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dwaine Pretorius, Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi, Imran Tahir.

England playing XI: Jason Roy, Jonny Bairstow, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan (c), Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler (w), Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes, Liam Plunkett, Jofra Archer, Adil Rashid.

2.35 pm: Much prefer going into the World Cup as favourites, says Eoin Morgan who would have bowled first as well.

2.33pm: Heads is the call from Faf du Plessis and it is heads. SOUTH AFRICA WILL BOWL FIRST. If there is anything in the pitch, it will be in the first hour, he says.

2.29 pm: The X-Factor for England, Jos Buttler, says England have been ready for a while for this day and relishing the World Cup at home.

Right, the toss is coming up.

2.27 pm: Sourav Ganguly’s pitch report: “There’s a fair bit of grass cover. It’s going to be a good batting day on a good batting wicket. This outfield looks fast too. Expect a lot of runs.”

2.25 pm: No other team has undergone as complete and effective a transformation in the last four years as current world No 1 England in the One Day International arena. With cricket’s marquee event returning home after 20 years, they are the clear favourites to lift their first ever World Cup trophy.

The change was out of necessity, after getting knocked out of the 2015 World Cup by Bangladesh. England underwent an overhaul then and how.

Read Zenia D’Cunha’s preview here.

2.22 pm: We, at The Field, have stuck our necks out and made the predictions. You can bookmark this and tell us later how wrong we were.

2.14 pm: Fortunately or unfortunately for South Africa, they aren’t being counted as one of the favourites this time around. They won 16 of the 21 ODIs they played in the last 12 months, but the might of India, Australia and hosts England has left the four-time semi-finalists in the shadows.

The Proteas are in decent form heading into the mega event, which kicks off with a clash between them and England. They defeated Sri Lanka by 87 runs in their first warm-up game a few days ago, before the next one against West Indies was called off due to rain.

Read Aditya Chaturvedi’s preview here.

2.08 pm: Who are you backing in this match? Let us know your thoughts by tagging us on Twitter,

2.06 pm: England is the team that has changed how the one-day format is conceived nowadays. Batting on friendly pitches, smacking everything out of sight, England have made sure 300 is no longer considered a safe total. Tournament scorecards for spectators have been corrected to make sure 500 can be slotted in, if the situation arises.

Chetan Narula from London has the preview. Handling pressure is the buzzword as England take on South Africa in opener. Read here.

2.00 pm: It’s here, folks. The day all cricket fans have been waiting for in anticipations over the past year or more. The day that comes once in four years. That day the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup kicks-off, this time at the home of cricket after a 20-year gap.

England launch the World Cup on Thursday as favourites to bludgeon their way to victory for the first time but will fear a Virat Kohli-inspired India and a hungry Australia.

The host nation have never won the tournament, with the last of their three losing appearances in the final coming in 1992, but there is a growing sense their current crop of players can end 45 years of pain.

Boasting a plethora of big-hitting white-ball specialists, England are the top-ranked team in the 50-over game, while Kohli’s India are also packed with superstars who have honed their skills in the Indian Premier League.

South Africa, meanwhile, start the tournament under the radar and maybe, that’s a good thing for the team that has made a habit of buckling under the pressure of the biggest stage in the game.