World Cup: Du Plessis feels 'X-Factor' Archer left South Africa dumbfounded

Jofra Archer took 3-27 in England's 104-run win over South Africa and Proteas captain Faf du Plessis was full of praise for the fast bowler.

Skipper Faf Du Plessis addressing the press   -  Getty Images

South Africa captain Faf du Plessis admitted England's Jofra Archer lived up to his 'X-Factor' billing with bowling variation that left the Proteas batsmen dumbfounded in the hosts' 104-run Cricket World Cup win.

ODI newcomer Archer had been described as an X-Factor by both Du Plessis and India counterpart Virat Kohli ahead of the tournament's opening game on Thursday and he returned 3-27 in seven overs as England cruised to victory.

England, renowned for its batting prowess, only posted 311-8 at The Oval but that proved to be ample as Archer set the tone with a five-over opening spell where he accounted for Aiden Markram and Du Plessis, and forced Hashim Amla off with a head injury incurred by a 90mph bouncer - though the opener would later come back to complete his innings.

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Archer returned to remove half-centurion Rassie van der Dussen (50) as South Africa were dismissed for 207, with Du Plessis keen to identify England's latest call-up as a big reason why they got up and running.

"The pitch was good enough for us to get off to a good start [but] obviously Archer bowled really well with the new ball," Du Plessis said in his post-match news conference.

"As I said before this game, a lot of the guys haven't played against him so that will take time for international batters to get used to his action."

"He's a little bit nippier when he gets to the crease, and that's why he is such an X-Factor bowler. He broke through our opening three there and that was always going to be a tough ask from there."

Archer, who was born in Barbados, only qualified to play for England in March and made his ODI debut earlier this month.

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And despite being a regular on the limited-overs circuits across the world, Du Plessis thinks he thrived because of the element of surprise.

"It's his action," he explained.

"You can see even towards the end there, even with Rassie he bowls slower ball, slower ball, 80 per cent ball, 80 per cent ball and then a quick bouncer. There's obviously some thinking behind it."

"When he bowls that short one it is a bit quicker than his other balls. The guys will need to understand that action. When we get an opportunity to play against England again we'll know his short ball is his wicket ball."

"He's not necessarily a guy that will swing the ball as much as other bowlers. But his short ball is his wicket-taking ball."

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Jofra Archer took three wickets including the scalp of Faf Du Plessis for 5   -  Getty Images

 

England's batting exploits in recent years have led to predictions they will be the first country to surpass 500 in the 50-over game at this tournament.

Here, it barely crept past 300, not that captain Eoin Morgan was overly concerned at halfway, given his belief his team's game-management has improved.

"We emphasised how slow the pitch was, it never allowed you to get away and I suppose strike the ball like we would do for Plan A," he said.

"I think one of the areas of our game that has improved in the last two years is the way we've assessed conditions, played a bit more smart cricket, building partnerships and putting a total on the board and believing that's enough.

"At the halfway stage we didn't believe that we had enough, but we believed we had in and around par."