The 12th edition of ICC Cricket World Cup gets underway today with two of the ODI heavyweights locking horns in Kennington Oval, London. England will be entering the tournament with the tag of favorites while South Africa would want to put an end to the tag of chokers on their name and both the teams will fight to clench their maiden World Cup title. The stage can’t be bigger and stakes can’t be higher than a World Cup tournament. This is going to be the biggest Cricket World Cup tournament in terms of match, with 48 matches to be played over the course of 46 days with 10 best teams battling it out in the Home of Cricket for one of the most coveted titles in International Sports. You know it is important when Queen Elizabath II herself meets with the teams’ captains before throwing them a Garden Party at Buckingham Palace.
England have won 7 of its last 11 ODIs this year with 2 defeats and 2 NR matches. They have won each of their last 16 complete ODI chases in England, lost only one of their last 15 completed ODI matches at home and they are undefeated in Oval since 2013. Their batsmen are in brilliant form as well with Roy, Buttler & Morgan averaging 70+ in ODIs since Feb 2019. The only concern for England should be lack of quality in Pace department and overdependency on batsmen for winning them matches. The former might be the reason to add the fiery Jofra Archer in the squad to produce the match winning spells. On the top order they have Roy & Bairstow who never fails to impress with their hard hitting abilties. Their average opening partnership in last 5 ODIs is 117 which is quite impressive. Morgan, Root & Buttler makes up the middle order and are the core strengths of English Batting. Stokes and Moeen Ali provide finishing power in the lower middle order. Adil Rashid and Jofra Archer will be the key bowlers for England with Plunkett & Woakes delivering crucial overs.
Eoin Morgan has 573 runs with 5 fifty plus scored in Kennington Oval with the average of 57.30 while Joe Root has scored 429 runs with the average of 61.30.
Probable XI: Jason Roy, Jonny Bairstow, Eoin Morgan, Joe Root, Ben Stokes, Joss Buttler, Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes, Jofra Archer, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid.
South Africa’s knockout from 2015 World Cup semi-final was an emotional piece to watch for everybody. ABD and Morne Morkel brought tears to every cricket fan in the world. Now, fast forward to 2019, 4 years have passed. De villiers has announced his retirement and Morkel is playing for Surrey in English Domestic Circuit but they still have those 11 men which can fetch South Africa’s first World Cup title since their admission to International Cricket. South Africa is one team which can never be out of form. They have won 13 out of 17 ODI series they have played post 2015 World Cup. They are high on confidence after trashing Sri Lanka 5-0 earlier this year and defeating them again in World Cup warm up match last Friday. With Dale Steyn ruled out of the first match, it open gates for either Morris or Pretorius to be include in the playing XI. De kock and Du Plesis hold the fortunes for South Africa in the tournament. De kock has already added 469 runs in his ODI tally of 2019 while Du plesis averages 71 in the last 10 games he has played. On the bowling front, Rabada will spear head the pace attack while Tahir will be crucial in striking in middle overs. Both the bowlers put up an incredible show in the recently concluded IPL for their respective franchises.
Probable XI: Hashim Amla, De Kock, Du Plesis, Van der Dussen, JP Duminy, David Miller, Chris Morris, Andile Phehlukwayo, Imran Tahir, Lungi Ngidi, Kagiso Rabada
Out of the current South African Squad only Hashim Amla has an experience of playing in the Oval with 1 ODI century to his name but a 311* from a test of 2012.
Result trends: This is an unbiased ground with the team batting first winning 5 of the last 10 completed ODIs here.
Weather Reports: Weather will be cloudy with temperatures hovering around 22 degrees, with no chance of Rain.
Pitch Report: Oval is known to produce high scoring matches with its flat pitch that gives batsmen good aid to score mammoth runs. The team winning the toss would like to bat first in the batsmen friendly conditions of Oval.
-- by Rounak Verma