The 2019 edition of the ICC Cricket World Cup is scheduled to commence on May 30 (Thursday) as the hosts England will be locking horns with last edition’s semi-finalist South Africa at the Kennington Oval, London. Boasting a plethora of big-hitting white-ball specialists, England is standing at the numero uno position in the ODI rankings and with their recent ravaging form, South Africa will have a tough time in the tournament opener.
England has been the hot favorites as many experts have predicted that they will even breach the 500-run barrier in an ODI game as last year, they registered a record total of 481 for six against Australia in Nottingham last year. Addition to that, they also have an extra threat in their bowling attack with the inclusion of the Barbados-born fast bowler Jofra Archer.
They have become a completely different team since their early exit from the last edition of the tournament which took place in Australia and New Zealand. The transformation has been remarkable, with Eoin Morgan and his men climbing to the top of the ODI rankings and twice setting a new record for the highest ODI total, which now stands at 481 for six.
South Africa have been dealt with a major blow with Dale Steyn unavailable for the first game and before the tournament his inclusion was a huge build-up by the team, still the Proteas weren’t considered as a team to beat in the mega event, largely owing to the lack of form of Hashim Amla and inexperienced top-order.
However, the South African team has Lungi Ngidi, Kagiso Rabada, and seam-bowling allrounders in the squad to pack a punch. South Africa, captained by Faf du Plessis, are without retired star batsman AB de Villiers but their top order includes the talented Quinton de Kock.
In the ODI history, South Africa and Soth Africa locked horns with each other in 59 games, latter is having an upper-hand 29-26 as three matches saw no result and one game got tied. However, in World Cups, they played 6 matches and both the team had won 3-3 games
With a thumping win over Afghanistan, England more or less ticked all the boxes. From the squad Mark Wood, James Vince, Liam Dawson and one of either Liam Plunkett or Tom Curran could be the men to miss out in this opening match.
Probable XI: Jason Roy, Jonny Bairstow, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan (c), Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler (wk), Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes, Liam Plunkett/ Tom Curran, Jofra Archer, Adil Rashid
Steyn, who got some injury concern on his shoulder during the IPL and hence, he will be rested for the first two games and the team management will opt to give either Chris Morris or Dwaine Pretorius a chance to complete the bowling attack alongside Rabada, Ngidi, Andile Phehlukwayo, and Imran Tahir. Morris and Pretorius add batting depth.
Probable XI: Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock (wk), Aiden Markram/ Rassie van der Dussen, Faf du Plessis (c), JP Duminy, David Miller, Andile Phehlukwayo, Chris Morris, Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi, Imran Tahir.
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Fantasy XI Prediction
Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler (vc), Quinton de Kock, Joe Root, Faf du Plessis, Hashim Amla (c), Moeen Ali, Andile Phehlukwayo, Liam Plunkett, Jofra Archer, Imran Tahir