London, May 29: The countdown to the 2019 Men's Cricket World Cup is finally
coming to an end, as the tournament's first match sees hosts and MRF Tyres No.1 ranked ODI side, England, face off against third-ranked South Africa at The Oval, London, on Thursday.
England's batting line-up is laden with superstars, headed by the opening pair of Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow, who boast the highest strike-rates of any openers in ODI history to have posted more than 1,000 runs. Equally, England's top and middle-order are of similar strength, Eoin Morgan and Joe Root's presence often relatively overshadowed by the magnificent Jos Buttler, who is arguably the most devastating 360° batsman in the world.
While Eoin Morgan is all set to return to lead the side after missing the warm-up matches due to finger injury, newly-qualified fast bowler, Jofra Archer will be the man to watch out for in the bowling ranks, and he could be the final piece to the English jigsaw which finally sees them secure cricket's mightiest crown.South Africa, like England, do not possess an esteemed record in the Cricket World Cup, but the make-up of their side looks balanced and of high quality leading up the tournament.Wicket-keeper Quinton de Kock is as capable as any of taking England's opening bowlers to the sword with his immense ability, and is a proven match-winner alongside the experienced duo of Hashim Amla and Skipper Faf du Plessis at the top of the order.
The bowling unit, despite the absence of Dale Steyn in the first game, seems formidable, boasting the likes of the ever energetic Imran Tahir and 24-year old pacer Kagiso Rabada, with the duo in prime form, finishing as the top-two wicket-takers in the Indian Premier League.
England: Eoin Morgan (c), Moeen Ali, Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler (wk), Tom Curran, Liam Dawson, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, James Vince, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.
South Africa: Faf du Plessis (c), Aiden Markram, Quinton de Kock (wk), Hashim Amla, Rassie van der Dussen, David Miller, Chris Morris, Andile Phehlukwayo, JP Duminy, Dwaine Pretorius, Dale Steyn, Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi, Imran Tahir, Tabraiz Shamsi. (UNI)