England skipper Eoin Morgan confident team are ready to fire in World Cup opener against South Africa

Eoin Morgan is confident England are ready to raise the curtain on the cricket World Cup after positive news on and off the pitch.

Tuesday, 28th May 2019, 3:48 pm
Updated Wednesday, 29th May 2019, 8:52 pm
SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - MAY 25: James Vince of England batting during the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 Warm Up match between England and Australia at the Ageas Bowl on May 25, 2019 in Southampton, England. (Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images)

Morgan was a bystander as the tournament hosts cantered to victory in their final warm-up outing at the Oval on Monday, bowling Afghanistan out for 160 then knocking off the runs in less than 18 overs.

The Dubliner was officially part of the winning team after recovering from a dislocated finger but he opted against fielding and was not required with the bat as Jason Roy's bruising 89 not out saw the side home for the loss of one wicket.

Factor in an all-clear for paceman Mark Wood, who has been passed fit following a scare over his troublesome left ankle, and preparations are looking bright for the big cricket competition on home soil.

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Morgan believes England, who have Hampshire duo James Vince and Liam Dawson in the squad, will be strong when they face South Africa on Thursday in the opening game at the Oval (10.30am).

He said: ‘We have felt ready the last week or so, even if we didn’t play these warm-up games.

‘As a whole I was very happy with the preparation. When you play as convincingly as that it builds confidence in the hard work you’ve done both in training and in the game and the other side of it is that it gives us the afternoon and evening to switch off – not playing another close game against a strong side.

‘Everyone is going to feel that anticipation and excitement of playing the first game and it will be different than any other day and I will be encouraging guys to embrace it.’

As for the good news on both his and Wood’s fitness, Morgan added: ‘It's the best possible news with both of them. With Woody being a fast bowler it’s inevitable we would have injuries but to come back with the scan as clear as it could be is great, so we are all ready.’

Worries over Wood's condition when he pulled up at the Ageas Bowl during the defeat to Australia were inevitable given his career-long fitness issues but the Durham man remained calm.

England have three options to take the new balls against South Africa, with Chris Woakes, Jofra Archer and Wood all preferring to bowl at the start of the innings.

The trio have rotated over the past couple of weeks but only two will get the gig in the opening game.