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HomeCricBlogCWC 2019 - England vs South Africa: 5 key talking points

CWC 2019 – England vs South Africa: 5 key talking points



Last Updated on 5 years by Charbel Coorey

England vs South Africa: 5 key talking points. CWC 2019 Match 1: ENG vs SA – 5 key talking points

The pre-tournament talk is officially over. Nostalgia reigns for millions of cricket fans around the world, with the 2019 Cricket World Cup getting underway at The Oval.

The atmosphere was terrific. Excitement was rift in the build up, and remains the case (for England at least). What better way to get started than by Imran Tahir giving Usain Bolt a run for his money on his celebratory run? Or England then showing their batting capabilities right down the order? Or that Jofra Archer, who has already shown to be one hell of an addition to England’s pace attack? And man, that catch from Ben Stokes.

The opening game, where England won by a highly-convincing 104 runs, delivered some key talking points.

Also read: My 5 big predictions for World Cup 2019! Which do you think will come true?

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1. Jofra Archer… the final piece of the puzzle?

There was something distinctly different about Jofra Archer.

Think of his unique attributes that we have come to see in T20 leagues around the globe. How he ambles up to the crease and releases 140km/h thunderbolts without even looking like he’s trying.

But, the spectators at The Oval and millions of viewers around the world were witnessing a special spell. Archer was determined. He was visibly running in harder and releasing thunderbolts with the venom not many have seen from him before. No one was going to stop him. Hashim Amla was unfortunately victim, having to retire hurt after getting hit on the grille. Seven overs. One maiden. 27 runs. Three wickets. It was a pace and bounce clinic.

The challenge for Archer will be to maintain this intensity and quality consistently for at least another 10 games if England are to go all the way. One thing is for sure, though. England’s bowling capabilities have risen after the rule change by the ECB made Archer eligible to play for England in January 2019. This was what they needed after concerns regarding their bowling especially when they were going the distance in West Indies earlier in 2019.

England vs South Africa: 5 key talking points. Cricket World Cup 2019 CWC 2019. ENG vs SA Match Review
England vs South Africa: 5 key talking points – Jofra Archer was outstanding

2. Too much depends on Quinton de Kock and Faf du Plessis for South Africa

Quinton de Kock and Faf du Plessis have scored 40% of South Africa’s ODI runs in 2019. Hashim Amla and JP Duminy’s need to find form in the big stage, Aiden Markram’s still-to-be-discovered mojo in ODIs, Rassie van der Dussen’s inexperience (despite his excellent start to his career) and the two all-rounders means South Africa need plenty from their two best batsmen. When Faf du Plessis was out cheaply, South Africa’s hopes took a huge hit. The kind of hit that would not happen if Eoin Morgan was out for England in the same situation.

A lack of batting depth is a concern for the Proteas, and they need a confidence boost against Bangladesh on Sunday.

Also read: 3 good changes to see after the 2019 Cricket World Cup.

3. Should South Africa be picking David Miller?

Sure, David Miller’s form in recent months hasn’t exactly been “wow put everything else to the side and watch this”.

It has been quite the opposite at times, particularly during a disappointing IPL 2019 campaign for Kings XI Punjab.

But, are South Africa right to leave out a power-hitter in what is expected to be a high-scoring World Cup? Miller has scored 324 runs in seven World Cup innings at 64.80, with a strike rate of 139.06. His last innings in a World Cup was an 18-ball 49 in all-time classic Semi Final against New Zealand in 2015. With Hashim Amla, Faf du Plessis, Rassie van der Dussen and Aiden Markram all in the team, South Africa need an injection of power. There is a bit of ‘sameness’ about their lineup, which needs to be shaken up. David Miller is the kind of player that can rise to the occasion, and he should be in South Africa’s side against Bangladesh.

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4. England’s long batting lineup and Ben Stokes comes to the fore

Jonny Bairstow, one of England’s stalwarts in their incredible ODI rise, was out in his first ball of the big dance. South Africa issued a surprise with Imran Tahir and England were sprung.

But, from the moment Joe Root cover drove nerves of many to the fence to move the score from two to six, England were on their way. While there would be the feeling that one of Roy, Root or Morgan (each out in the 50s) should have gone on with the job, England’s batting depth came to the fore.

Ben Stokes, in a brilliant all-round performance, held things together brilliantly for England as South Africa realised that taking the pace off the ball and bowling into the pitch was the way to go. 53 of his 89 came in ones and twos, knowing that a score of 300 is defendable on a pitch that is not quite the belter that the England ODI team, fans and opponents have come across over the past four years. And of course, he could continue to do no wrong, taking one of the best catches you will EVER see along with two wickets and a run out. It was a fine day out for him and the England batting lineup, even when Jonny Bairstow and Jos Buttler missed out.

5. Don’t count South Africa out just yet

The first of nine games is done for South Africa. There is a long way to go, but they showed enough to suggest they can give other sides trouble in this World Cup.

With the tactical nous of skipper Faf du Plessis (i.e. bowling Imran Tahir first up), electric fielding and catching, and a pace attack soon to be bolstered by the return of Dale Steyn, the Proteas have enough quality to cause problems with the ball.

England vs South Africa: 5 key talking points. Cricket World Cup 2019 CWC 2019. ENG vs SA Match Review
Photo by Andy Kearns/Getty Images. England vs South Africa: 5 key talking points – The use of Imran Tahir was brilliant thinking by South Africa.

However, their concern is batting. While they can be encouraged by the efforts of Quinton de Kock and Rassie van der Dussen, they need a more collective effort if they are to win the games they need to reach the Semi Finals.

England are off the mark. South Africa are like that nervous batsman sitting on zero, desperate to get off the mark by any means possible. With India their third game next Wednesday, their game against Bangladesh on Sunday is crucial.

Thanks for reading!

Also read: 3 good changes to see after the 2019 Cricket World Cup.

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Charbel Coorey
Charbel Coorey
Charbel is the owner & founder of, based in Sydney, Australia. He started the website to fulfill his love for the game of cricket. Charbel has also been featured on other publications including OP India, Times of India, and The Roar, among others. For any story tips or questions, you can contact Charbel at

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