Event of the Day: England versus South Africa
Our event of the day is the Cricket World Cup
opener between England and South Africa at the Oval in London. The hosts go into the tournament ranked the number one ODI side in the world, but face stiff opposition in the curtain raiser today as South Africa currently reside third in the rankings. The biggest event in global cricket sees the world’s best ten nations battle it out in a round robin process, meaning today’s game between two of the favourites could be significant to their chances of progression. Despite appearing in three finals, England have never lifted the World Cup title but look in good shape to give themselves a chance of changing all that as they have another opportunity to impress in front of their home crowd. They have been strong in the build up to the competition, sweeping Pakistan 4-0 in an ODI series, as well as demolishing Afghanistan in a warm up clash. In fact, England have beaten every team competing at this year’s world Cup in an ODI-series since the last edition, barring Afghanistan, with pundits placing them the firm favourites to go all the way this time round. Much has been said about their team selection, particularly regarding the inclusion of Barbados-born Jofra Archer, who only became eligible to play for England a few months ago. The impact the fast-paced bowler could have on the tournament is eagerly anticipated and he could ultimately prove the difference in helping England write their own piece of cricketing history.
Although all of the focus will be on the host nation going into today’s matchup, South Africa will be quietly confident of raining on England’s parade. Unfortunately, their final warm up game against the West Indies was abandoned due to rain, but the Proteas have not lost a match since February which is why many are backing them to make a deep run at this tournament. However, having never reached a World Cup final, South Africa’s potential lack of experience could ultimately be their downfall when competing with the world’s major sides. Keep an eye on their exciting young bowler Kagiso Rabada, who is one of the most highly rated prospects in world cricket. At just 24 years of age, Rabada has taken more wickets since April 2015 than any of his compatriots in ODI cricket, having taken an incredible 106. After introducing himself with figures of 6-16 on his debut back in 2015, his rise to stardom has been astronomical so don’t be surprised if he is lights up this year’s World Cup. We are set for a thrilling tournament and this opening game should be a great start.
Honourable mentions around the globe go to the NBA where Game 1 of the Finals will take place at the Scotiabank Arena as the Golden State Warriors visit the Toronto Raptors. Whilst the Warriors will be making their fifth-straight NBA Finals appearance, for the Raptors, this represents their best ever finish to a season, but they are not just here to make up the numbers and will have aspirations of causing an upset to lift their first ever championship. Elsewhere, there is action on the PGA Tour as the Memorial Tournament begins at Muirfield Village Golf Club where seven of the world’s top ten players will battle it out for the prestigious title. Though football matches around Europe are few and far between currently, there is an international friendly to watch out for as Turkey host Greece at the New Antalya Stadium. In MLB, the Kansas City Royals will look to get their season back on track after losing back to back games as they go up against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park. Finally, the French Open continues today with Day 5 as Novak Djokovic takes on Henri Laaksonen of Switzerland whilst Serena Williams does battle with Kurumi Nara.
Whatever you’re watching, enjoy!
Photos by ICC