LONDON – Barbadian fast bowling sensation, Jofra Archer, made a dream World Cup debut today, snatching three wickets in a hostile display to help propel England to a dominant 104-run victory over South Africa in their tournament opener at the historic Oval.
Showing little signs of nerves in only his fourth One-Day International, the 24-year-old finished with three for 27 from seven overs as the hosts successfully defended their 311 for eight, to make a winning start to the tournament.
Fellow pacers Ben Stokes (2-12) and Liam Plunkett (2-37) also made telling strikes, sending South Africa tumbling to 207 all out in the 40th over.
Opener Quinton de Kock top-scored with 68 off 74 balls while Rassie van der Dussen got exactly 50 off 61 balls but the Proteas crashed from a position of 129 for two in the 23rd over, losing their last eight wickets for 72 runs.
Handed the new ball, Archer signalled his intentions from as early as the fourth over when he struck veteran right-hander Hashim Amla a fierce blow to the head with a hostile bouncer, forcing him to retire hurt on five.
Archer then grabbed his first wicket in the eighth over when he removed new batsman Aiden Markram for 11 to a catch by Joe Root at slip, with the score on 36.
In his next over, the right-armer rushed skipper Faf du Plessis (5) into an ill-advised hook, and Moeen Ali at long leg took the resulting top edge to leave South Africa 44 for two.
De Kock and van der Dussen put on 85 for the third wicket before the left-handed de Kock pulled Plunkett to Root at fine leg in the 23rd over to end the stand.
South Africa then lost wickets steadily with Archer returning to account for van der Dussen, caught at mid-on by Moeen miscuing a quick short one in the 32nd over.
Archer, who holds a UK passport through his British father, was born and raised in Barbados and played a handful of matches for West Indies Under-19s in 2013 before turning his attention to representing England.
Earlier, Man-of-the-Match Stokes top-scored with 89 from 79 balls to rally England after they were sent in. He put on 106 for the fourth wicket with captain Eoin Morgan who made 57 from 60 balls.
England lost Jonny Bairstow without scoring to the second ball of the match with a single run on the board but recovered through another 106-run stand between Jason Roy (54) and Root (51) for the second wicket. (CMC)