The Cricket World Cup will begin with hosts England taking on South Africa in the opening match at The Oval in London on Thursday. England, the clear favourites to win World Cup 2019, boast an incredible batting line-up that runs deep. Moreover, they are expected to have six to seven bowling options in their playing XI too. On the other hand, South Africa look solid on paper. With the likes of Dale Steyn, Kagiso Rabada and Imran Tahir in their ranks, South Africa’s strength clearly lies in their bowling attack. With Dale Steyn not playing in the tournament opener, there is an opportunity for Chris Morris to rise up to the occasion and shine. However, Kagiso Rabada holds the key for South Africa as he can extract pace and bounce from any track.
Openers Quinton de Kock, Hashim Amla and skipper Faf du Plessis will be expected to make some strong contributions with the bat.
For England, Jonny Bairstow and Jason Roy form an explosive opening pair and are expected to dominate right from the outset.
Jos Buttler, who comes in at number six, will be the key player. With his ability to hit boundaries, Buttler is expected to be the hosts’ trump card in the tournament.
In the bowling department, Jofra Archer is the player to watch out for.
Probable XI: Jason Roy, Jonny Bairstow, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan (capt), Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler (wk), Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes, Liam Plunkett, Jofra Archer, Adil Rashid.
Probable XI: Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock (wk), Aiden Markram, Faf du Plessis (capt), JP Duminy, David Miller, Andile Phehlukwayo, Chris Morris, Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi, Imran Tahir.
England: Eoin Morgan (capt), Jason Roy, Johny Bairstow, Joe Root, Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler (wk), Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes, Liam Dawson, James Vince, Tom Curran, Liam Plunkett, Jofra Archer, Adil Rashid, Mark Wood.
South Africa: Faf du Plessis (capt), Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock (wk), Aiden Markram, Rassie van der Dussen, JP Duminy, David Miller, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dale Steyn, Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi, Tabraiz Shamsi, Dwaine Pretorius, Chris Morris, Imran Tahir.