They’re the tournament hosts and the tournament favourites. But can England get the six-week carnival of cricket underway with a bang against South Africa in the opening match of the World Cup at The Oval?
Eoin Morgan’s men warmed up for the tournament with a resounding 4-0 series win over Pakistan. That was followed by a win and a loss against Afghanistan and Australia in two pre-tournament prep games.
Now it’s down to business. Can Jos Buttler slog England to a win in the opener? Or will Quinton de Kock continue his fine form for the Proteas? We’ve previewed the match in our England v South Africa Betting Tips.
England are number one in the ICC ODI rankings for a reason. Their batting line-up boasts stability and destructive power in equal measure, while their bowlers offer a tantalising mix of pace and spin.
On home soil that’s a combination to be feared. Don’t just take our word for it; they’ve won 15 of their last 16 completed ODIs in England. No wonder, then, they’re odds-on at 4/9 to get going with a win.
South Africa are no mugs, though. The Proteas are third in the world and won on their last visit to these shores in 2017. De Kock and Faf du Plessis are two serious hitters and are 7/4 to carry them to a win.
We’re predicting no shortage of boundary bashing in the opener, with Buttler set to be front and centre. The right-hander can boast knocks of 110, 150 , 110 and 91 in the last 12 months alone.
He’s 11/2 to finish as England’s Top Runscorer and 1/2 to hit Over 0.5 Sixes. The likes of Joe Root and Eoin Morgan offer stability and consistency in the middle order. The pair are 6/5 and 6/4 for a half-century each.
Alternatively, Ben Stokes is a man slightly out of form. We go 5/6 about him hitting Under 29.5 Runs. For South Africa, De Kock has clubbed 50+ runs in five of his last six matches and is 6/5 to do so again.
If you’re to pinpoint a weakness in England’s play it’s probably their bowling line-up. Although offering consistency, it lacks a real star name. South Africa have no such problems with Imran Tahir and Kagiso Rabada.
Still, there’s plenty of promise for the hosts. Tom Curran has burst onto the scene in devastating fashion. His four-wicket haul in the 4th ODI against Pakistan last month makes him a tempting 7/2 shot for Top Wicket Taker.
Adil Rashid remains the favourite for England in that market at 3/1. Jofra Archer may need slightly more time to flourish at the top table and is 4/7 to collect Under 1.5 wickets against the Proteas.
No Dale Steyn through injury means the onus for South Africa will fall on Tahir. After taking at least two tickets in each of his last four ODIs, he’s 5/4 for Over 1.5 here and 3/1 to be SA’s Top Wicket Taker.
Where: The Oval, London.
When: 10:30am, Thursday 30th May 2019.
How to watch: Sky Sports Main Event/Sky Sports Cricket.
Click here for the England v South Africa odds.
All Odds and Markets correct as of date of publication