LONDON – IOL Sport’s Zaahier Adams looks at some of the plays of the day in the Cricket World Cup opener between England and South Africa at The Oval on Thursday, which the hosts won by 104 runs.
Youth over experience
South Africa sprung an early surprise when the selectors opted for Aiden Markram over David Miller. It was expected when Hashim Amla returned to form that Markram would miss out. He got the nod, but failed to utilise the opportunity falling for another frustrating stroke-filled 11 off 12 balls.
Faf pulls a rabbit out of a hat
There must have been a wager on how long it would be before Imran Tahir would be off on one of his mazy celebratory runs. Nobody would have guessed that it would only be two balls into the 12th World Cup. Faf du Plessis’ decision to open the bowling proved to be a masterstroke, with Tahir removing the dangerous Jonny Bairstow for a duck.
Jofra Archer is the real deal!
Archer promised England had not seen the best of him yet. He wasn’t kidding. The young fast bowler, who was in Barbados, lived up to all the pre-tournament hype. He smashed into Hashim Amla’s head, forcing the veteran to retire hurt before removing Aiden Markram, Faf du Plessis and Rassie van der Dussen.
There is a nostalgic feeling to this World Cup. The format has gone back to 10 teams like it was in 1992, and England and Australia are wearing retro outfits. Quinton de Kock added to it when he ditched his helmet in favour of a cap to face England’s spin twins Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid.
Ben is back!
After all his troubles over the past year, Ben Stokes feels like he owes the English public to be the version of his self. He is certainly doing it at the moment on the field, where this all-action cricketer put in a box-office performance on opening day. Stokes was England’s top scorer, took a couple of wickets, and capped it off with a scintillating one-handed catch on the boundary.