England vs South Africa: From stunning Stokes to electric Archer, major takeaways from World Cup opener

Here are major takeaways from the exciting Oval clash between England and South Africa

England off to winning start

England made a confident start to their Cricket World Cup campaign as they crushed South Africa by 104 runs in the tournament opener at The Oval. 

(Photograph:AFP)

Electric Archer makes his mark

Jofra Archer wasted little time proving England's decision to fast-track the electrifying pace bowler was a wise move.

Raw pace was the one element that had been missing from England's attack and it took just two balls to see the extra threat Archer brings when he whizzed a 91 mph (146 kph) rocket past Quinton de Kock at the start of South Africa's run chase. 

In his second over, Archer hit Hashim Amla with a ferocious bouncer that crashed into the opener's grille.

Aiden Markram and Faf du Plessis had no answer to the Archer onslaught. 

Roaring with delight, Archer had dismantled the South African top order and underlined why his presence has strengthened the belief that hosts England are the tournament favourites.

(Photograph:AFP)

Big Ben bounces back

Ben Stokes showed England can rely on the temperamental all-rounder as his measured 89 played a key role in their victory.

Stokes played the leading role as England combated a tricky pitch to make a winning start to their bid for a first World Cup triumph.

Stokes brought up his half-century in style with three fours in four deliveries, but this was not just a show of brute force.

His cathartic day also included two wickets and one of the most astonishing catches in World Cup history.

Diving backwards to dismiss Andile Phehlukwayo with a one-handed catch on the boundary, Stokes' sensational effort was immediately labelled "the catch of the century" by several Twitter users. 

(Photograph:AFP)

Tahir twist surprises England

South Africa captain Faf du Plessis sprang an early surprise when he asked leg spinner Imran Tahir to bowl the first over of the match.

With fast bowler Dale Steyn sidelined by a shoulder injury, Du Plessis gambled that making Tahir the first spinner to bowl the first ball of a World Cup would unsettle England.

At 40, Tahir is the oldest player in this edition of the World Cup, but he has enjoyed a superb spell in the past five years and he rose to the challenge issued by De Plessis as he dismissed England opener Jonny Bairstow with the second ball of the match.

Bairstow's edge behind to wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock gave South Africa a dream start but they were unable to capitalise.

(Photograph:Reuters)

Amla's injury scare

South Africa opener Hashim Amla was forced to retire hurt after being struck on the helmet by a short delivery from Archer. 

He later returned with South Africa struggling at 167 for six in the 32nd over.

Amla's brave effort to rescue the innings ended on 13 when he was caught behind off Plunkett's slower-ball bouncer and Stokes finished the match when Imran Tahir edged to Root. 

(Photograph:AFP)

Captain Morgan

Eoin Morgan's aggressive approach has been symbolic of England's rise to the top of the one-day international rankings after their woeful first-round exit at the 2015 World Cup.

"Delighted to be off and running in this tournament. It's more satisfying than normal," Morgan said during the post-match presentation. 

"We were very good today, the wicket didn't allow us to execute our plan which is to try and score quite a considerable total, but I thought the maturity and smart cricket we played shows the effort we put in the last two years and the experience as well," he added. 

(Photograph:AFP)

Faffy not happy

South African captain Faf du Plessis looked unhappy post 104-run defeat. 

During the post-match presentation, he said, "We were outplayed in all three departments.... I thought 300 was par, we were bowling cutters, but there were some really good batting performances from England." 

"They are a top-quality team and they showed that with the bat today. You need a bit of momentum in the first two games. When we have Dale and all our resources, we back our bowling to restrict teams under 300," he added. 

(Photograph:AFP)