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Cricket World Cup 2019: After a rollicking start, can England become first single host to lift trophy?

England

Bengaluru, May 31: England started their 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup campaign in the way most had expected from them.

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Eoin Morgan's side hadn't pressed their batting power button full but yet crossed 300 and restricted South Africa to 207, to win by 104 runs.

With this England have now won the opening match of all the five World Cups they have played at home. They beat India by 202 runs in 1975; Australia by six wickets in 1979; New Zealand by 106 runs in 1983 and Sri Lanka by eight wickets in 1999.

Going by their form and the home advantage factor, the Three Lions look a perfect side to lift the World Cup for the first-time ever. They have completely transformed themselves since their humiliating exit from the 2015 World Cup when they were stunned by Bangladesh. England have shed their conservative and boring approach to the game and their batting line-up today is a terror for any bowling unit.

Ben Stokes had a field day

There were four fifties in the English innings after Jonny Bairstow departed for a golden duck in the second ball of the first over. Ben Stokes had a field day as he scored 89 off 79 balls, took two catches one of which could easily qualify as one of the best in the history and also chipped in with two wickets. Stokes was the natural choice as the man of the match.

If England continue with this form for the rest of the tournament, winning the trophy at Lord's on July 14 will not be too tough for them. And if they can accomplish the mission. England will become the first single host nation of the World Cup to win the trophy.

So far, three hosts have won the tournament but all of them were co-hosts. While Sri Lanka won as one of three hosts (besides India and Pakistan) in 1996, India also won as one of three hosts (besides Sri Lanka and Bangladesh) in 2011 and Australia as one of the two hosts (besides New Zealand) in 2015.

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Story first published: Friday, May 31, 2019, 11:45 [IST]
Other articles published on May 31, 2019
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