England, South Africa
England vs South Africa (Photo: Twitter)

In the first match of 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup, hosts and favorites England will face South Africa at the Oval, London at 3 pm on Thursday.

FORM

England have won four of their last five ODIs with one ending in no result. They lost the first warm-up match to Australia by 12 runs but followed it up with a 9-wicket win over Afghanistan.

South Africa have a perfect form record as they have won all of their last five matches. The Proteas won their first warm-up match against Sri Lanka by 87 runs and their second match was washed up by rain.

Predicted XI

England: Jason Roy, Jonny Bairstow, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan (C), Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes, Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes, Jofra Archer, Tom Curran, Adil Rashid.

Eoin Morgan had a small fracture in his index finger but is expected to be fit for the World Cup opener.

South Africa: Hashim Amla, Aiden Markram, Faf du Plessis (C), Rassie van der Dussen, David Miller, JP Duminy, Andile Phehlukwayo, Chris Morris, Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi, Imran Tahir.

Dale Steyn is unavailable for the match as he has not fully recovered from shoulder inflammation.

X-FACTOR

The English would be relying on their spin duo of Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali to deliver against the Proteas batsmen who are used to playing fast seamers.

In fact, no other bowler has taken more wickets than Rashid’s 127 since the conclusion of 2015 World Cup and the leg-spinner is expected to pick some crucial wickets in Thursday’s match.

The Proteas would be reliant on the opening pair of Hashim Amla and Aiden Markram.

Amla is just 90 runs away from becoming the quickest batsman to reach 8000 runs in ODIs and the 36-year old would be delighted to achieve that in the World Cup opener.

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