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England storms into final with seven-wicket win

South Africa fails to recover from batting collapse as Trott powers England home with unbeaten 82

England storms into final with seven-wicket win - Cricket News
A relentless English bowling attack limited the South Africans to a paltry total.
On the eve of this game, AB de Villiers said: “I believe all teams choke in certain situations.” Unfortunately for South Africa, every knockout game seems to be such a ‘situation’. At The Oval on Wednesday (June 19), a combination of relentless English bowling – pace and spin – and some atrocious shot selection saw South Africa bowled out for just 175 in the first semifinal. With Jonathan Trott again in commanding form, England reached the target with seven wickets and 75 balls remaining.

South Africa’s plight would have been far worse but for a spirited partnership of 95 for the ninth wicket between David Miller (56 not out from just 51 balls) and Rory Kleinveldt (43). But on a surface where the par score was at least 270, that recovery was never going to be enough.

To have any chance, South Africa needed a cluster of wickets with the new ball. It got two, but not quickly enough to induce any great tremors in the home dressing room. Chris Morris had Alastair Cook caught behind after cramping him for room for the pull shot, while Ian Bell made 20 before opening the face too cutely to Kleinveldt.

Trott, criticised by some for batting to his own drum, was the perfect man to pilot such a chase. He unfailingly put away the bad balls, especially those angled at his pads, and there was no pressure on Joe Root to do anything silly with the asking rate so small. AB de Villiers rotated his bowlers, with Morris the pick of an average bunch, but with no Steyn and no Morne Morkel, there was never going to be a miraculous defence.

Trott, who needed 64 balls for his half-century, and Root added 105 from 126 balls before Root made a hash of a sweep off JP Duminy. Trott carried on serenely to finish with 82 at nearly a run a ball.  

On an extremely dry pitch, South Africa lasted just 38.4 overs, never recovering from the loss of its openers in the first two overs. The omens weren’t good before the toss when Dale Steyn, its bowling talisman, was ruled out and replaced by Kleinveldt. A shocking display followed, and only Miller and Kleinveldt, who took advantage of the batting Power Play, did their reputations any good as England ran riot.

After impressing against West Indies in the final league game, Colin Ingram lasted just five balls here, trapped in front by a James Anderson delivery that straightened a touch. The hammer blow came five balls later, as the extra pace of Steven Finn accounted for Hashim Amla. The attempt to leave wasn’t quick enough and the thin edge was superbly taken by Jos Buttler behind the stumps.

With Faf du Plessis taking his time to find his bearings, it was left to Robin Peterson, promoted again to No.3, to get the innings moving. He did so with some pleasing strokes on either side of the wicket and down the ground. Ian Bell put down a difficult chance at extra cover when he had made 25, but Peterson couldn’t stick around long enough to benefit. Anderson, from round the wicket, swung one into the pads, and after the finger went up, Peterson opted not to go for the review.

What followed was a catalogue of woe. AB de Villiers chased a wide one from Stuart Broad and edged behind, Duminy played on to James Tredwell, and du Plessis nicked a quicker one behind. From the relative respectability of 45 for 2, South Africa had slumped to 70 for 6.

It would get no better either. Ryan McLaren, who averaged 83 for the tournament before this game, was run out after going down the wicket to Tredwell. The ball deflected off the pad to slip. Trott’s deft underarm throw did the rest.

Tredwell got his chance because of Graeme Swann’s fitness issues, and he made the most of it, eventually being named Man of the Match. Chris Morris gave him a third wicket, also edging behind, and at that stage it didn’t look like South Africa would even get to three figures.

But Miller and Kleinveldt, who hit nine fours and three sixes between them, made the most of attacking fields, hitting cleanly over the top. The crowd was getting quite restive by the time Broad returned to end what was South Africa’s record partnership for the ninth wicket. Both Kleinveldt and Lonwabo Tsotsobe gloved short balls behind, leaving England with the most perfunctory of chases.

This was South Africa’s seventh semifinal loss in an ICC tournament going back to 1992. The C word seems to be in no hurry to leave the dressing room.  

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