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As Stokes Rules England Thrash South Africa in 2019 World Cup Opener


LONDON– Ben Stokes produced a fine all-round display as England began their quest to win the World Cup with a 104-run thrashing of South Africa in the tournament opener at the Oval on Thursday.

The all-rounder top-scored with 89 in England´s 311 for eight, held a brilliant catch and took two for 12, including the last wicket, as England won with 61 balls left.

Jofra Archer did the early damage with the ball, the fast bowler taking three for 27 in seven overs.

“We were very good today — we were good as a batting unit even though we couldn´t score a considerable total which was our Plan A,” said England captain Eoin Morgan.

“Ben Stokes has had a full day, his catch was absolutely outstanding. He is a match-winner and lifts everybody.”

“Jofra Archer bowled fast and accurate on a slow pitch, it was outstanding from a young guy,” Morgan added.

Barbados-born Archer, who only qualified for England in March, made his presence felt even before he had taken a wicket with a bouncer that beat Hashim Amla for pace and crashed into the grille of the helmet, with the veteran opener retiring hurt on five.

Archer then reduced the Proteas to 44 for two.

Aiden Markram edged to Joe Root at slip and South Africa captain Faf du Plessis fell for just five when he top-edged a hook to long leg.

Quinton de Kock kept the Proteas in the hunt but holed out off fast bowler Liam Plunkett for 68 and Rassie van der Dussen then make exactly 50 when he miscued Archer to mid-on.

His exit saw Amla return with South Africa struggling at 167 for six in the 32nd over.