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ICC Cricket World Cup 2011: England Claim Narrow Victory in Group B Match With South Africa

England narrowly edged to victory over South Africa in their Group B ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 encounter on Sunday 6th March 2011.

Having set an achievable total of just 171 All Out from 45.4 overs, England, helped by their best bowling effort to date in the tournament, removed South Africa for 165 in 47.4 overs, meaning England won by 6 runs.

England won the toss and elected to bat, but were soon in deep trouble, as captain Andrew Strauss (0) hit his third ball straight down de Villiers throat from the bowling of Peterson: he was out for a duck. Pietersen (2) followed him soon after, caught by Kallis at slip from the same bowler.

When Ian Bell (5) went soon after, falling to a magnificent diving caught and bowled to Peterson, yet again, England were reeling at 15 for 3 wickets. However, another good innings by Trott (52) and Bopara (60) saw a fourth wicket partnership that added 99 runs, until Trott was out caught and bowled Tahir.

Prior (10) was next, caught from the bowling of Morkel, before the same bowler caught Bopara LBW minutes later, to remove England’s last recognised batting prospects.

Only Swann (16), as he has so often in this World Cup, made any sort of impact with the bat, before he was the final wicket, caught by Duminy from the bowling of Tahir – who had, yet again, made quick work of clearing out the tailenders, grabbing four wickets for 38 runs from his 8.4 overs in the process.

But it had been Peterson’s early spin that had done the damage, and the player’s figures of 3 for 22 from 8 overs, having opened the bowling, tell their own story.

England’s bowlers came out knowing that any repeat of their previous three misfiring innings with the ball would see South Africa home with overs to spare, though they must have feared the worst when South Africa reached and passed the 50 mark without loss.

Smith (22) was the first to fall, with the score on 63 for 1, as Graeme Swann produced a great delivery which spun a couple of feet, and flicked the glove before Prior took the catch in his wicket-keeper’s gloves.

Amla (42) had looked comfortable, before playing an awkward looking defensive shot straight onto his stumps from the bowling of Broad.

Kallis fell soon after, also from broad, as he edged to Matt Prior, making the score, which had been 63 without loss, 82 for 3.

The in-form de Villiers (25) and du Plessis (17) put on a 42 run partnership, but de Villiers was bowled by James Anderson, with the ball just flicking off a bail as it beat the edge of the bat, before du Plessis was run out following quick fielding from Ian Bell after the batsman played a forward defensive shot well out of his crease. The score was 144 for 5.

Another wicket fell without the score increasing, however, as James Anderson bowled Duminy (4): this time the off stump was uprooted as Anderson was finally bowling up to his best. The full length ball reverse swung beautifully before removing the off peg for probably the best wicket of the innings, at a crucial moment.

Three runs later and South Africa were in serious trouble, as Peterson (3) was caught Prior, bowled Yardy, as the left arm spinner got an outside edge that was well snaffled by the keeper.

Time was not an issue, however, as South Africa required 37 to win from 67 deliveries left in the innings, the question was whether or not, with only three wickets in hand, they could get over the line.

Van Wyk (13) and Steyn (20) shared a late 33 run partnership that looked to be pushing the Proteas towards victory, before Bresnan bowled van Wyk, though the batsman had contrived to play onto his own wickets from a good length delivery which was rising over the stumps. The score was 160 for 8, just 11 runs short of the English total, and 12 short of the win target.

When Steyn fell four runs later, however, the task became much more difficult. Steyn was caught plumb LBW by Stuart Broad, who was England’s best bowler, picking up 4 for 15 from 6.4 overs: it was he who finished things when he had Morkel (1) caught by Prior to signal the start of English celebrations.

South Africa will be a little disappointed not to have got over the line, having been in a good position for much of their batting innings, but England did perform much better with the ball, in particular, James Anderson was in scintillating form, as he finally found some help from the pitch, and a little movement in the air, which kept his economy rate super-low. Anderson took 2 wickets for 16 runs from his 6 overs, including the vital wickets of de Villiers and Duminy.

Both of these sides have enough quality to make it through Group B, though England have shown themselves, with this gritty victory, once more to be a good team under pressure. The same cannot, right now, be said for South Africa.

England recieved a major blow after this match, however, when it was announced that Kevin Pietersen would be missing the rest of World Cup 2011 as a result of the hernia he had been ‘managing’ for some time. The opening batting position remains a worry for the Three Lions.

England v South Africa – ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 Scorecard

England won the toss and elected to bat.

England 1st Innings Runs Balls 4s 6s
Strauss c de Villiers b Peterson 0 3 0 0
Pietersen c Kallis b Peterson 2 3 0 0
Trott c and b Tahir 52 94 3 0
Bell c and b Peterson 5 7 1 0
Bopara lbw b M Morkel 60 98 3 1
Prior c van Wyk b M Morkel 10 19 1 0
Yardy c Peterson b Tahir 3 17 0 0
Bresnan lbw b Steyn 1 4 0 0
Swann c Duminy b Tahir 16 20 3 0
Broad lbw b Tahir 0 3 0 0
Anderson not out 2 6 0 0
Extras 12w 1b 7lb 20
Total all out 171 (45.4 ovs)

South Africa Bowlers O M R W
Peterson 8 2 22 3
Steyn 9 0 37 1
M Morkel 7 0 16 2
Kallis 4 1 14 0
Tahir 8.4 1 38 4
du Plessis 5 0 16 0
Duminy 4 0 20 0

South Africa 1st Innings Runs Balls 4s 6s
Amla b Broad 42 51 3 0
Smith c Prior b Swann 22 41 2 0
Kallis c Prior b Broad 15 20 3 0
de Villiers b Anderson 25 44 0 0
du Plessis run out (Bell) 17 38 2 0
Duminy b Anderson 0 4 0 0
van Wyk b Bresnan 13 37 0 0
Peterson c Prior b Yardy 3 16 0 0
Steyn lbw b Broad 20 31 3 0
M Morkel c Prior b Broad 1 3 0 0
Tahir not out 1 1 0 0
Extras 4w 2lb 6
Total all out 165 (47.4 ovs)

England Bowlers O M R W
Yardy 9 1 46 1
Anderson 6 0 16 2
Bresnan 8 1 27 1
Swann 10 2 29 1
Broad 6.4 0 15 4
Pietersen 8 0 30 0

England win by 6 runs.

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Stories from the Sport Desk at The Global Herald.

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