BEN Stokes inspired England to victory as they kicked off their home World Cup with a crushing 104-run victory over South Africa on Friday.

Stokes top-scored with 89 as the hosts posted 311-8 at a sold-out Oval and finished the match with two wickets in as many balls, but his best moment came while he was stationed at deep midwicket and pulled off an astonishing leaping catch with his outstretched right hand to see off Andile Phehlukwayo.

On any other day the spotlight might have shone on Jofra Archer, who took 3-27 and whose bouncer forced Hashim Amla to retreat to the pavilion for concussion tests.

At halfway there was a flicker of nervous tension about England's total, despite half-centuries from Stokes, Jason Roy, Joe Root and Eoin Morgan.

In the end it proved enough to win at a canter.

England had a nightmare start, losing Jonny Bairstow for a golden duck, but but Roy and Root safely added 106, bringing a low-risk sense of calm to proceedings until both fell in the space of four balls.

Morgan and Stokes picked up the baton and eased into a century stand of their own.

Taunton-born Jos Buttler could only add 18, chopping onto his own stumps from the bowling of Lungi Ngidi, but England finished strongly to post 311.

At times South Africa threatened that total, but with Archer taking 3-27, Liam Plunkett 2-37 and Stokes 2-12 late on, it would be England's day.

The hosts' next match is on Monday (June 3), against Pakistan at Trent Bridge.

The first World Cup fixture to come to Taunton is Afghanistan v New Zealand on Saturday, June 8 (1.30pm start).