Ben Stokes announced his arrival on the biggest stage as he anchored England to a total in excess of 300 against South Africa in the opening match of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 at the Oval on Thursday. Stokes came out to bat in the 20th over after the dismissal of Joe Root, when England were reduced to 111/3. Stokes added 106 runs with skipper Eoin Morgan (57). He anchored England's innings when the team lost wickets at regular intervals. Just when it looked like he would notch up the first century of this World Cup and take England to a mammoth total, he was dismissed for a well-made 79-ball 89 on the final ball of the penultimate over. His impactful knock helped England reach a competitive total of 311/8 in their 50 overs.
The hosts were put to bat by South African skipper Faf du Plessis after winning the toss. They were on the backfoot right in the first over which was bowled by leg-spinner Imran Tahir who dismissed the dangerous Jonny Bairstow on the second ball of the match and thereby broke the opening stand early. Joe Root (51) and Jason Roy (54) then resurrected the English innings by adding 106 runs for the second-wicket stand. For South Africa, Lungi Ngidi was the pick of the bowlers with figures of 3/66 in his 10 overs at an economy rate of 6.60 while Imran Tahir and Kagiso Rabada chipped in with two wickets each.