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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 5211 116
2 New Zealand 3959 110
3 Australia 4320 108
4 England 5253 105
5 South Africa 3537 98
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Rank Team Points Rating
1 England 6967 124
2 India 7939 118
3 New Zealand 5347 116
4 South Africa 5602 112
5 Australia 5915 110
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Rank Team Points Rating
1 Pakistan 8926 270
2 Australia 7815 269
3 England 6407 267
4 India 12141 264
5 South Africa 6220 259
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