South Africa brush aside England to face India in ICC KnockOut semi-final
England captain Nasser Hussain admitted his team had been completely outplayed after South Africa dominated their ICC KnockOut quarter-final at the Nairobi Gymkhana Club on Tuesday - winning the game by eight wickets.
"From ball one to the end ball we were outplayed," said Hussain. "The first ball, the first four or five overs, they bowled magnificently and the last ball of the match went for six. And in between they were better than us. That was a pretty good performance from them and we weren't up to it."
Hussain said England "didn't even come second" and that was a fair assessment. The South Africans, who are trying to rid themselves of an unwanted reputation as slow starters, tied up the England openers in a miserly new ball spell - after eight overs England were still just five without loss - and then increased the pressure throughout the innings.
Only Graeme Hick, who made a fighting 65 off 68 balls, was able to cope with the South African attack, but his was a lone hand as England were bowled out for 182.
South African captain Shaun Pollock led the way with three for 27 off 9.1 overs (15 runs coming of his fifth over as Marcus Trescothick tried to carve his way out of trouble) but England were seldom, if ever, able to free themselves from the shackles.
It was surely no co-incidence that South Africa's excellence with the ball and in the field marked Allan Donald's return to the side. Pollock is the captain and has been ranked higher than Donald for some time, but there is no doubting who is the side's senior bowler.
It was Donald, coming on with the ball 12 overs old, who nipped out Alec Stewart and Hussain, and thereafter the England batsmen, Hick excepted, were unable to cope.
The target was very ordinary, scarcely defendable under the circumstances of this tournament, with England's only hope of victory lying in bowling South Africa out. And this, as might have been expected, was an ambition that was to remain unfulfilled.
Andrew Hall went quickly and Gary Kirsten, after slicing out a rapid 32, followed. Thereafter the game was the preserve of Jacques Kallis, who was to be named man of the match, and Boeta Dippenaar in his sixth one-day international. Together they added 132, a record for the South African third wicket against England.
Before South Africa arrived in Kenya, revealed Pollock, it had been decided to give Dippenaar a run and he made the most of an opportunity to build an innings under very little pressure. Indeed, he outscored Kallis in the latter half of the innings as the senior player, after reaching 50 off 59 balls, was content to watch the younger man track down the target.
Dippenaar's second six finished off the match as he ended unbeaten on 65 - his first ODI half-century - with Kallis still there on 78, eventually off 110 deliveries. South Africa were well-satisfied, but they know the Indian batsmen, most particularly Sachin Tendulkar, may well come at them a good deal harder on Friday than England were prepared to on Tuesday.
If that is the case, the second semi-final could be a cracking affair.