The English skipper, Eoin Morgan becomes the first player from Europe to score 7000 ODI runs. Before the start of the first ICC Cricket World Cup game against South Africa, Morgan was 23 runs away, having scored 6233 runs for England and 744 runs for Ireland in ODIs till date. Interestingly, he got to the all-important milestone with a huge six over square leg fielder. Earlier in the day, he created history even before a ball was bowled in the opening game of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 at The Oval against South Africa.
Before the toss, Morgan was congratulated by former England director of cricket Andrew Strauss as Morgan became the first England player to play 200 ODIs. Morgan, who had started his international career against Ireland, switched to England in 2009 and he has been immensely successful at the limited-overs stage for England. In addition to becoming the first England player to play 200 ODIs, Morgan is the leading run-getter with 6233 runs at an average of 40.21 with 11 centuries. Only Joe Root has more centuries with Morgan with 14 tons in 124 games at an average of 50.47. Before Morgan, England's current fielding coach Paul Collingwood played the most number of ODIs for England with 197.
Morgan took over the reigns of England's captaincy from Alastair Cook and he led the team during the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup held in Australia and New Zealand. England crashed out of the league stages and this resulted in a total overhaul in the England cricket system. Morgan was at the helm of affairs when England staged their revival beginning with the series against New Zealand. Morgan's England team has been unbeaten at home for the last couple of years.
England and South Africa will start off the tournament in the opening game at The Oval. For England, this will not be the first time where they will feature in the opening game of the Cricket World Cup. For South Africa, this will only be their second time that they have featured in the opening game of this quadrennial event. While England has made it to the World Cup finals three times, South Africa has been knocked out in the semi-final stage four times. Both teams have never won the World Cup title and this gives them the perfect opportunity to break the jinx. England and South Africa have clashed in the World Cup six times.
For South Africa, they featured in the opening game of the World Cup only once and it was when they hosted the tournament in 2003. South Africa took on West Indies in Newlands, Cape Town and chose to bowl. They had reduced the West Indies to 67/2 in 25 overs. Brian Lara, though, had other ideas and he blazed away to a brilliant century. Carl Hooper’s run-a-ball 40 and an 18-ball 40 from Ricardo Powell helped West Indies reach 278/5. South Africa was docked one over due to their slow over-rate but in response, Gary Kirsten smashed 69 and Mark Boucher put South Africa on course with 49.
However, it was Lance Klusener’s knock that stole the show. The left-hander regularly cleared the boundaries and his 57, which included five sixes helped South Africa near the target but West Indies held their nerve and won by three runs. The one over which was taken away proved to be costly for South Africa.