Ben Stokes produced a fine all-round display as England began their quest to win the World Cup with a 104-run thrashing of South Africa in the tournament opener at the Oval on Thursday.
“We were very good today -- we were good as a batting unit even though we couldn’t score a considerable total which was our Plan A,” said England captain Eoin Morgan.
“Ben Stokes has had a full day, his catch was absolutely outstanding. He is a match-winner and lifts everybody. Jofra Archer bowled fast and accurate on a slow pitch, it was outstanding from a young guy,” Morgan added.
All-rounder Stokes top-scored with 89 in England’s 311 for eight, held a brilliant catch and took two for 12, including the last wicket, as England won with 61 balls left.
“To be honest I was in the wrong position. That feeling for about five seconds when I was facing the crowd and everyone was cheering, it was phenomenal,” Stokes told the BBC about his stunning catch.
Barbados-born Archer, who only qualified for England in March, made his presence felt even before he had taken a wicket with a bouncer that beat Hashim Amla for pace and crashed into the grille of the helmet, with the veteran opener retiring hurt on five. The fast bowler took three wickets for 27 in seven overs.
South Africa captain Faf du Plessis said: “We were outplayed in all three departments.... I thought 300 was par, we were bowling cutters, but there were some really good batting performances from England.”