press trust of india
London, 19 June: An impressive bowling performance powered England to the Champions Trophy final as the hosts thrashed South Africa by seven wickets in the first semi-final, here today.
The hosts bundled out South Africa for a meagre 175 after inviting them to bat first and then comfortably overhauled the target with 12.3 overs to spare. Such was the domination of the English bowlers that the South African batsmen found it difficult to reverse the trend of faltering in major ICC tournaments. It was a complete team effort by England as all the bowlers played a part in demolishing the South African top and middle-order.
England had their rivals on the mat as they had reduced them to 80 for 8 at one stage and the Proteas owed their recovery to some gritty batting by David Miller (56), who in the company of tail-ender Rory Kleinveldt (43) added 95 runs for the ninth wicket in 16 overs. James Anderson (2/14) and Steven Finn (1/45) excelled with the two new balls and were duly complemented by Stuart Broad (3/50) and off-spinner James Tredwell (3/19).
England lost their openers early but Jonathan Trott (82 not out) and Joe Root (48) batted with class and assurance to take the hosts to the finish line. They shared a 105-run stand for the third wicket. Trott paced his innings well as he batted cautiously initially and started playing strokes once it was certain that England had reached a safe position. It is the second time that England have qualified for the Champions Trophy final. The last time they featured in the final was in 2004. On that occasion they had hosted the event as well and had finished runners-up to the West Indies. England will now play the winner of tomorrow’s semi-final between world champions India and Sri Lanka in the summit clash on 23 June at Birmingham.
South African bowlers did a decent job, especially spinner Robin Peterson, but England had the luxury of conserving their wickets while chasing a small target. The Proteas removed openers Alastair Cook (6) and Ian Bell (20) early but Trott and Root did not allow the South Africans to seize the momentum. They batted with a lot of responsibility and waited for the loose deliveries.
Trott’s knock came off 84 balls with 11 boundaries while Root helped himself to seven shots to the fence in his 71-ball knock. By the time J P Duminy dismissed Root, England were closing in on victory.
Earlier, South Africa scripted a remarkable late recovery as they were down in the dumps at 80 for eight at one stage but managed to give their bowlers something to fight for.
Miller&’s unbeaten half-century and Kleinveldt’s fighting knock provided some semblance of respectability to the total. Miller’s innings off 51 balls contained five fours and two sixes as he launched a swift counter-attack and found an able ally in Kleinveldt who didn’t get fazed by the reputation of the English bowlers. The South African pacer hit four boundaries and a six.
Just when it looked like South Africa would be dismissed for one of their lowest totals in ODI history, the duo provided stiff resistance with some positive strokeplay. Finally, Broad dismissed Kleinveldt with a rising delivery on the rib-cage, giving a catch to glovesman Jos Buttler.
Miller was getting frustrated at the other end as Ryan McLaren was run-out and Chris Morris (3) was caught by the wicketkeeper.
Wicketkeeper Jos Buttler today became the seventh cricketer to effect six dismissals in an ODI and the third from England to achieve the feat, during their ICC Champions Trophy semi-final against South Africa here. All his dismissals came in the form of catches at the Kennington Oval.
The 22-year-old thus joined Adam Gilchrist, Mark Boucher, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Ridley Jocobs and countrymen Matt Prior and Alec Stewart in holding the record.