Why England’s World Cup win over South Africa was an unforgettable day for Ben Stokes

England all-rounder Ben Stokes graced the opening game of the World Cup with an astonishing one-handed catch fit for any occasion and then claimed his heroics were only needed after an error of judgment.

England's Ben Stokes (centre) celebrates the catch of South Africa's Andile Phehlukwayo with team-mates.

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Stokes enjoyed an unforgettable day in front of a sold out Oval crowd, top-scoring with 89 as the hosts posted 311-8, and wrapped up a 104-run with two wickets in as many balls.

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But none of his exploits with bat or ball will live as long in the memory as his inspired leap at deep midwicket, throwing himself up and backwards to complete an incredible dismissal of Andile Phehlukwayo.

On day one of a six-week journey it already looks like he has produced one of the tournament’s defining moments, but the 27-year-old was quick to confess all had not gone to plan.

“I had a little bit of a panic on to be honest, I was a little bit further in than I should have been,” he said.

“I was actually in the wrong position. It would have been a regulation catch if I was in the right place. It’s one of those that sticks or doesn’t.”

Moeen Ali, speaking with a broad smile, said: “He ran in for no reason...he screwed it up!”.

Captain Eoin Morgan concurred.

“He misjudged it at the start. I thought it was going to be way over his head,” added the Dubliner before dispensing some well-earned praise.

“He’s had a full day out and when he does it’s extremely entertaining. It’s great for the game. You just shake your head at it because it doesn’t happen every day.

“His all-round game was on here and that’s great for us.”

Reflecting on the moment he turned to stare at the rapturous fans just yards away, arm raised in triumph, Stokes explained: “The crowd’s reaction behind me was pretty awesome – I just tried to take that in as much as I could.

“I bowled the next over and Morgs had to come to me and ask if everything was alright, if my heart rate had gone down...things like that catch do get you fizzed up.”