South Africa's Dale Steyn ruled out of World Cup game against England
Faf du Plessis: "One of our x-factors is a really strong pace attack – Steyn, Rabada, Ngidi is a real threat. That is plan A, now it’s a reshuffle"
Last Updated: 29/05/19 1:38pm
South Africa seamer Dale Steyn has been ruled out of their opening World Cup match against England at The Oval on Thursday.
The 35-year-old has not bowled in a competitive game since April 21, after suffering a shoulder inflammation while playing for Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Indian Premier League.
South Africa captain Faf du Plessis says Steyn - who could also sit out his side's match against Bangladesh on Sunday - will be a "big loss", and that the Proteas must now tinker with "plan A" as they look to defeat the World Cup hosts and favourites.
"A fit Dale Steyn makes our bowling attack a very strong one, so [the first game] will be a little bit of chopping and changing to make sure we get the balance to take on England," said Du Plessis, ahead of a match you can watch live on Sky Sports Cricket from 9.30am on Thursday.
"One of our x-factors is a really strong attack in terms of pace - Steyn, Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi is a real threat in English conditions. That is plan A for the World Cup, now it's a reshuffle and looking to plan B and C.
"[Steyn] is a big loss to our team, but we did expect it when we picked the squad. He was probably about 60 per cent, so we anticipated this."
He is not fully ready yet, and we feel that in a six-week tournament there is no need to press the issue right now. He is getting closer every day. We hope that if not by Sunday then by the India game.
South Africa coach Ottis Gibson on Dale Steyn
South Africa are yet to win the World Cup but have reached the semi-finals on four occasions, including four years ago when they lost to runners-up New Zealand.
Du Plessis admits South Africa will be the "underdogs" against England but hopes that allows his squad to play with freedom.
"[England] deservedly have the favourites tag as they are the home nation and have been playing really consistently good cricket," said the Proteas skipper.
"There is no point in playing defensive cricket against England as they have shown they can take on any bowling attack on the day.
"We are going in as underdogs - there are not a lot of people talking about South Africa but if that releases some players in the team that's great."
You can watch every match of the ICC Cricket World Cup live on Sky Sports Cricket, starting with England vs South Africa at The Oval from 9.30am on Thursday.