England v South Africa: Hosts looking to make a statement in World Cup opener

England will be looking to make a statement when they face South Africa in the first game of the Cricket World Cup on Thursday.

Eoin Morgan's hosts are the favourites to be crowned champions for the first time and will be expected to demonstrate their credentials at The Oval.

The hosts have no injury problems to contend with after Morgan (broken finger), Mark Wood (foot) and Adil Rashid (shoulder) were passed fit.

Wood, Liam Plunkett and Tom Curran are vying for a place in the side, which will be revealed at the toss. Jofra Archer is set to make his World Cup debut. 

The Proteas will be without paceman Dale Steyn due to a shoulder problem as they plot to claim the scalp of the top-ranked ODI side.

South Africa are also aiming to win the tournament for the first time.

HOW DID THEY WARM UP?

England thumped Pakistan 4-0 in a one-sided ODI series before losing to Australia and hammering Afghanistan.

Jason Roy was England's man of the series against Pakistan after making two half-centuries and a hundred. The opener also smashed an unbeaten 89 in the drubbing of Afghanistan.

South Africa eased to a high-scoring 87-run win over Sri Lanka before rain ensured only 12.4 overs were bowled in the warm-up clash with West Indies.

Captain Faf du Plessis and batsman Hashim Amla made half-centuries as South Africa racked up 338-7 versus Sri Lanka. Andile Phehlukwayo and Lungi Ngidi were the pick of the bowlers.

 

WHAT THEY SAID

Eoin Morgan: "They [South Africa] are a well-rounded team, they are coming into a tournament with confidence. They have coped without Dale Steyn often for about a year and a half. They have cover. The last time they were here, Dale wasn't and they were fine."

Faf du Plessis: "Dale is a big loss to our team but we expected it. When we picked the squad he was 60 per cent ready so we anticipated for this to happen. But a fit Dale Steyn makes our attack a strong one so we need to make a few changes to our team for England. Our bowling is one of our X-factors."

OPTA FACTS

- England and South Africa have faced each other six times in the Cricket World Cup, winning three apiece. England won by six runs in their last World Cup encounter eight years ago.

- South Africa are on a six-game ODI winning streak. That run includes a 5-0 whitewash of Sri Lanka.

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