England 311 for 8 (Stokes 89, Morgan 57, Roy 54, Root 51, Ngidi 3-66) beat South Africa 207 (de Kock 68, van der Dussen 50, Archer 3-27) by 104 runs
As it happened
Ambles in like Bambi. Hunts wickets like a zombie. Jofra Archer is a #BambiZombie. And the opening match of the 2019 World Cup was all the richer for it.
By the end of the game – which England won by 104 runs – the mood at The Oval was well beyond festive. They’d found a match-winner. Across formats. For years to come. And they’d seen their firestarter up to his old tricks.
Ben Stokes was the top scorer of the day. But that wasn’t his most eye-catching contribution. Scroll down the scorecard to Andile Phehlukwayo’s dismissal. Doesn’t say much, does it? Caught Stokes bowled Rashid. Yawn.
Now trawl through the internet – go into its darkest corners if necessary – and watch as the allrounder tracks a brutally hit slog-sweep on the midwicket boundary. Marvel as he never takes his eyes off it. And gasp as he times his jump perfectly. Then brace yourself for about half an hour’s disbelief as he sticks his right hand up over his head, and behind him, to come away with a catch that will be talked about for ages. Just like the #OhMyBroad one.
South Africa, at that point, were 180 for 7. They’d given the chase of 312 a proper go, with Quinton de Kock announcing his claim to be part of the next generation’s Fab Four with a half-century that was highlighted by his maturity in respecting the bowling when it was difficult and punishing it when it gave him the slightest chance. A lofted cover drive for six off Liam Plunkett was a particularly ringing endorsement of his monster talent.
But even he had to be shoved into the background as Archer burst onto the stage and demanded everyone’s attention. Especially the other eight oppositions’.
As England’s batting revolution was waving bye-bye to uncharted territory and bounding into the never-before-imagined, there has been fear that the bowling wouldn’t keep up. Their seam attack felt samey. It needed something different; something radical. Archer is exactly that.
He generates pace out of nowhere; 90 mph of it. A bouncer in the fourth over of the chase hit Hashim Amla flush on the grille. It was too quick for him. Too quick for an all-time legend. And made him retire hurt. Then Archer sprung the same trap on the South African captain. A short ball surprised Faf du Plessis and had him caught at long leg. After decades of being decimated by raw pace – Allan Donald, Mitchell Johnson, Michael Holding – England now have their own bonafide speed demon.