England snatch win after SA collapse
England snatched a narrow six-run win after South Africa suffered a horrendous batting collapse in their World Cup Group B match at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai, India, on Sunday.
Chasing 172 for victory South Africa had looked well placed on 124 for three, but they lost their last seven wickets for just 41 runs as they were bowled out for 165 in 47.4 overs with seamer Stuart Broad finishing with figures of four for 15 off 6.4 overs.
The Proteas had made a good start to their run chase, on a wicket which provided plenty of turn for the spinners and reverse-swing for the pacemen, thanks to an opening stand of 63 between Hashim Amla and Graeme Smith (22).
Smith never looked comfortable on the difficult batting wicket, especially against off-spinner Graeme Swann, and South Africa’s skipper fell to Swann when he gloved a delivery through to keeper Matt Prior.
Amla was the one batsman, from either side, to score with any fluency and he reached 42 off 51 balls before he became Broad’s first victim when he chopped a delivery back onto his stumps.
Jacques Kallis (15) was also caught behind off Broad before AB de Villiers (25) and Faf du Plessis (17) steadied the innings with a fourth-wicket stand of 42.
But De Villiers was bowled by swing bowler James Anderson to start a horror slide that saw South Africa lose four wickets for three runs.
Du Plessis was run out after a smart piece of work from Ian Bell at short leg before JP Duminy (nought) was bowled through the gate by an Anderson in-swinger and Robin Peterson (three) was caught behind off left-arm spinner Michael Yardy.
Dale Steyn (20) and Morne van Wyk (13) tried their best to get South Africa back into the game with an eighth-wicket stand of 33.
But with 12 runs still needed Van Wyk chopped a Tim Bresnan delivery onto his stumps before Broad finished off the match with two wickets in four balls when he trapped Steyn leg-before and had Morne Morkel (one) caught behind.
Anderson finished with the economical figures of two for 16 off six overs.
"There are plenty of things we didn't do well in this game but we got away with a win. Sometimes a win's all you need to really kick-start things and get yourself going," said England skipper Andrew Strauss.
Smith admitted it was a tough task batting second on a crumbling pitch.
"We did well most of the game. We knew that chasing would be very difficult on this wicket and it proved to be that," he said.
"I think after getting off to a solid start with the bat it just became more and more difficult to score and once we lost a few wickets in the middle it became tough."
SPINNERS SHARE THE SPOILS
Imran Tahir and Peterson had earlier shared seven wickets as South Africa bowled England out for 171.
Left-arm spinner Peterson, who opened the bowling, did the damage at the top of the order to pick up three for 22 off eight overs while Tahir ran through the tail to finish with figures of four for 38 off 8.4 overs.
Tahir took his tally of World Cup wickets to 11 in three matches as England were bowled out after just 45.4 overs.
Despite the spin-friendly conditions paceman Morne Morkel bowled superbly to claim two for 16 off seven overs.
However, England’s innings was rescued thanks to a 99-run fourth-wicket stand between Jonathan Trott and man-of-the-match Ravi Bopara.
Trott scored 52 off 94 balls while Bopara weighed in with 60 off 98 deliveries but the next best score was just 16 from Swann.
The decision to open the bowling with Peterson proved to be an inspired one as he picked up two wickets in his first over when he had Andrew Strauss caught for a duck at deep midwicket and Kevin Pietersen (two) caught at first slip.
In his third over Peterson removed Bell (five) as the bowler pulled off a sharp caught and bowled effort diving to his left as England slumped to 15 for three in the fifth over before Trott and Bopara steadied the innings.
But Tahir removed Trott, courtesy of a good caught and bowled effort, to start a slide similar to that which had affected the South Africa innings as England lost their last seven wickets for the addition of 57 runs.
Morkel struck twice when he had Prior (10) caught behind by keeper van Wyk and he trapped Bopara leg-before.
Steyn pitched in with the wicket of Bresnan (one) before Tahir took over.
The 31-year-old bowler had Yardy (three) caught at short cover before he trapped Broad leg-before with a googly.
Swann, after striking three fours, was the last man to depart when Tahir had him caught at mid-off.
South Africa’s next match is against India on March 12 in Nagpur while England play Bangladesh in Chittagong on March 11.
South Africa – Graeme Smith (capt), Hashim Amla, Jacques Kallis, AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, Faf du Plessis, Morne van Wyk (wk), Robin Peterson, Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel, Imran Tahir.
England - Andrew Strauss (capt), Kevin Pietersen, Jonathan Trott, Ian Bell, Ravi Bopara, Matt Prior (wk), Michael Yardy, Tim Bresnan, Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann, James Anderson.