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ICC World Cup 2019 | Slowness of The Wicket Meant We Struggled With Plan A: Morgan

Cricketnext Staff | May 31, 2019, 10:14 AM IST

Hosts England went into their opening ICC World Cup game against South Africa on Thursday as the favourites — a tag that has been alien to English teams in the past. A slip-up in the opening fixture could have proved to be disastrous.

As it turned out, the home side — who were far from being at their best — came away with a relatively comfortable 104-run victory at the Oval. England started off on a disastrous note, losing in-form opener Jonny Bairstow in the opening over to leg-spinner Imran Tahir.

Half-centuries by Ben Stokes (89), skipper Eoin Morgan (57), Jason Roy (54) and Joe Root (51) carried them to 311-8, before bowling South Africa out for 207.

“I think given the nature of the pitch and the way South Africa bowled, we were struggling with our plan A game with the bat for some time and that emphasised how slow the pitch was,” said Morgan said after the win on Thursday.

“You could not get away and we could not strike the ball like we would do for our plan A. One of the ways we have improved in the last two years is understanding conditions and we adapted really well here,” Morgan, who turned out in his 200th ODI for England, said.

“We did not think we had enough runs but we thought we were on par. It is extremely pleasing. I would back us to lose four early wickets and still go at five an over. We have been at 20-5 before and put a reasonable score on the board, fought to the end and believed we can still win. If we lose wickets then we will adapt,” he added.

The England skipper was pleased by the performance of paceman Jofra Archer (3/27) who rocked the South African chase early by hitting opener Hashim Amla on the head. Stokes, who hit a fine half-century and picked up two wickets as well, pulled off a brilliant catch on the boundary off Adil Rashid’s bowling to send back all-rounder Andile Phehlukwayo.

“He has had a full day out and when he does it is entertaining. We see him do stuff like that in training all the time and you shake your head at it,” the English skipper said.

“He was at his best today. He misjudged it at the start. He ran in, stopped and I thought it was way over his head and then the leap. I have only seen a catch like that from AB de Villiers before for Bangalore. I don’t know to describe it, it was unbelievable,” he added.​

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Team Rankings

Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 4659 119
2 New Zealand 2829 109
3 England 4366 104
4 South Africa 3177 102
5 Australia 3270 99
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Rank Team Points Rating
1 England 6745 125
2 India 7071 122
3 New Zealand 4837 112
4 Australia 5543 111
5 South Africa 5193 110
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Rank Team Points Rating
1 Pakistan 7748 277
2 England 4253 266
3 South Africa 4720 262
4 India 8620 261
5 Australia 5471 261
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