The wait is over and the countdown to the final at Lord’s on July 14 starts now, as England take on South Africa in the tournament’s curtain-raiser – a game that is also one of the World Cup’s marquee fixtures.
All eyes in the world are heading for a match between England and South Africa.
What a way to start things off. England, the hosts, world No 1 team and tournament favourites, play a South Africa side with more than enough to be in with a chance of winning the whole thing. Faf du Plessis leads the side, ably backed up by Hashim Amla, Quinton deKock and JP Duminy, while Kagiso Rabada spearheads the attack.
South Africa will be weakened today, though, with Dale Steyn having been ruled out of the opening game with a shoulder injury.
At home, and on current form, England will be hopeful of getting off on the right foot here, and the home crowd will be an expectant one. I wouldn’t go as far to say there will be renditions of ‘cricket’s coming home’ in the Oval stands, but given the ODI series mauling of Pakistan and the sheer depth of England’s batting lineup, many fans will think this is (finally) England’s time.
There have been three World Cup final appearances before, but never a trophy lifted. In front of home crowds, with this team, this is a huge chance for England to end their wait for a World Cup win… and it all starts here.