England, in a seemingly hopeless position after being bundled out
for 171, snatched a dramatic six-run victory against South Africa
in a crucial Group B fixture here Sunday to keep their hopes alive
in the cricket World Cup.
The South Africans, cruising at 63 for no loss at one stage,
suffered a middle-order collapse and were eventually all out for
165 in 47.4 overs. Fast bowler Stuart Broad (4-15) gave England
hope, dismissing Hashim Amla and veteran Jacques Kallis, reducing
South Africa to 82/3. Ab de Villiers (25), with two centuries in
this World Cup, and Francois du Plessis put on 42 runs and South
Africa looked safe.
But seamer James Anderson (2-16) changed the course of the match
with two beatiful swinging deliveries to rattle the stumps of de
Villiers and Jean Paul Duminy. In between Du Plessis was run out.
All three wickets fell at 124 and England roared back into the
In their chase, the Proteas were as unconvincing and despite a
rearguard fight by wicketkeeper Morne van Wyk (13) and tail-ender
Dale Steyn (20), who added 33 runs for the eighth wicket,
eventually stumbled at the finish.
England, reeling under a huge loss against Ireland in Bangalore,
won their second match in four outings and took their tally to
five. They now travel to Chittagong to face Bangladesh (March 11)
before returning to Chennai for their concluding league fixture
against the West Indies March 17.
It was South Africa's first loss, having comfortably won their
previous two games against the West Indies and the Netherlands.
England chose to bat first, but they lost three quick wickets with
Graeme Smith again playing his spin card.
They were done in by left-arm spinner Robin Peterson (3 for 22)
who opened the bowling and leg-spinner Imran Tahir (4 for 38), as
they collapsed to 171 in 45.4 overs.
That England managed to score that many after losing three wickets
by the fifth over was thanks to a 99-run dogged partnership for
the fourth wicket between Jonathan Trott (52, 94b, 3x4) and Ravi
Bopara (60, 98b, 1x6, 3x4) who was brought in for Paul
The South African chase began on a strong note with openers Graeme
Smith (22) and Amla (42) putting on 63 at a good clip, but England
hit back by snapping up three wickets to get a toe hold in the
Skipper Smith was caught behind off Graeme Swann, a dismissal that
was confirmed only after a review, and then Broad struck twice in
eight deliveries, removing Amla and Jacques Kallis.
In-form De Villiers and Du Plessis steadied the innings, but in a
dramatic turn of events, England grabbed three wickets for no runs
in the space of 11 balls as South Africa slid to 124 for six.
De Villiers, struggling with a back problem, was bowled by
Anderson and then du Plessis was a victim of short-leg Ian Bell's
quick reaction to be caught short of the crease. New man Jean Paul
Duminy lasted four deliveries during which he successfully had a
caught behind decision reviewed and two balls later, Anderson
uprooted his off-stump.
England, sensing a kill, went on the offensive but van Wyk and
Steyn scrapped as hard to bring South Africa within sight of
However, in another twist to the proceedings, Steyn fell leg
before to Broad who went on to induce a nick from Morne Morkel to
end the South African chase.
Earlier, the England batting was rather shaky. If anything, Trott
and Bopara during their obdurate partnership only seemed to delay
Once the pair was separated, the South Africans cut through the
line-up with Morkel effecting two dismissals while Tahir cleaned
up the tail by taking three wickets in just 16 deliveries.
Tahir bowled well enough for his rewards. The Pakistan-born leg
spinner had made the key breakthrough earlier by having Trott
caught and bowled.
First up, it was Peterson who did all the damage with his
three-wicket haul, including two in his very first over with the
new ball, a move that seemed to catch England off-guard.
Peterson dismissed skipper Andrew Strauss and Kevin Pietersen and
that had England on the ropes. Thereafter, it was a classic
hand-to-hand battle in the trenches.
Strauss was guilty of playing an airy-fairy shot to be caught in
the deep off the third ball of the innings and almost immediately,
Pietersen edged Peterson to Jacques Kallis in the slips. A
tentative Bell followed soon after, brilliantly caught and bowled
by Peterson for a soft dismissal.
Peterson's three wickets in his first spell of four overs that
cost only four runs proved to be a huge setback for England, who
never quite recovered from the early blows, a couple of them
The South Africans could have made further inroads with some luck
as Trott and Bopara got away with a few streaky shots and edges
that either fell short or went to vacant spots.
However, both hung on to rebuild the innings. It was a laboured
effort that fetched them runs mostly in trickles interspersed with
a burst of action, including Bopara's six off part-time spinner
Smith wrung in swift bowling changes to break the Trott-Bopara
partnership that eventually ended when Tahir snared Trott, who had
just then completed his second consecutive half-century following
the 92 against Irealand last week.
Morkel then delivered two quick blows to remove Bopara and Matt
Prior while Tahir ended the England innings with a three-wicket
haul in his fourth spell.