England v South Africa, Champions Trophy, semi-final, The Oval June 19, 2013

Dominant England cruise into final


England 179 for 3 (Trott 82*, Root 48 ) beat South Africa 175 (Miller 56*, Kleinveldt 43, Tredwell 3-19, Broad 3-50) by seven wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

England and South Africa had not met in a major ICC semi-final since the World Cup in Sydney in 1992, a match which AB de Villiers admitted before the start of play ended with him "crying myself to sleep." Grown man now or not, after the mess South Africa made of this tie, he could be forgiven for repeating the experience.

De Villiers is no longer an innocent child, he is captain of a South Africa one-day side which throughout his lifetime has repeatedly flattered to deceive in ICC tournaments. So it proved once more. England rampaged through the top order as eight wickets fell for 80. It was a muggy morning at Kennington Oval, England won a favourable toss, and for once the white Kookaburra swung, but South Africa contributed immensely to their downfall.

David Miller and Rory Kleinveldt did at least regain a measure of respectability. A record ninth-wicket partnership for South Africa of 95 in 16 overs took them to 175. But all that did was provide Jonathan Trott with a prolonged opportunity to bat much as he wished, seemingly oblivious to the pressure of a Champions Trophy semi-final. He finished with a spritely 82 not out from 84 balls, a seven-wicket win done and dusted with more than 12 overs to spare.

Trott's rate of progress is constantly pored over, his displays routinely regaled by some, condemned by others. As England lost their openers, Alastair Cook and Ian Bell, with 41 on the board, and de Villiers shuffled his bowlers impatiently, looking for a magic trick, no England supporter was carping. They yearned for his stability.

Let me watch in peace, they urged him, build your bubble, do it your way. South Africa wanted his wicket more than any other, but Trott and Root, one imperturbable, the other full of vim, confirmed England's place in the final with a stand of 105 in 20 overs. Root left cursing himself, bowled behind his legs by JP Duminy for 48, but Trott remained productive to the end, completing his ritual post-match scratching of his guard even as Eoin Morgan tried to offer his congratulations. The match was essentially settled by the 23rd over. South Africa batted skittishly, as if 300-plus and the sooner the better, was essential. Critically, they lost their most influential batsman, Hashim Amla for a single and the reverberations of that were felt deep into the order. The coach, Gary Kirsten, voiced what many were thinking. "We choked," he said. To some extent it was a traditional exercise in self-flagellation because this was not a hugely strong South Africa side from the off.

England's mood was set by the connoisseur of swing bowling, James Anderson, whose opening spell of 2 for 11 was extended to seven overs as his captain, Cook, sought to break South Africa early while the conventional swing persisted.

Wickets in the first two overs of South Africa's innings got England moving. Anderson can cut a serious, brooding figure, but the closeness of the morning left him full of smiles before the start. He removed Colin Ingram for nought with his fifth ball, outswinger followed by inswinger and an lbw verdict

Steven Finn has been stalking around the Champions Trophy, none too happy about his omission from the side, but Tim Bresnan's absence, to be with his wife Hannah with their baby imminent, gave him his first appearance of the tournament. Cook gave him the new ball and challenged him to channel that anger and his fourth delivery brought England the prize wicket of Amla as he failed to withdraw from an outswinger, the first of six catches behind the stumps for Jos Buttler.

Even in the early overs, England were planning for the possibility of reverse swing on a dry square later in the day. Stuart Broad began to bowl cross seam, to encourage wear on the ball, as early as the 10th over - and it brought him a wicket, too, as de Villiers was out without scoring, lashing at a wide one and caught at the wicket off an under-edge.

Peterson's appearance at No. 3 encapsulated South Africa's confusion. He was a pinch hitter in inappropriate conditions. If his left-handedness was perceived as an advantage, Anderson revels against left-handers when the ball is swinging. It was an unconvincing ploy. He acquitted himself better than most, taking three boundaries off a wayward over from Finn before Anderson had him lbw.

But this was not just a story about quick bowling. South Africa were so destabilised that a few overs of routine, if intelligently-delivered, offspin by James Tredwell caused further havoc. Tredwell, who was substituting for Graeme Swann, had 3 for 19 in his seven overs as well as causing the downfall, run out, of Ryan McLaren. The bounty that fell upon him was recognised with the man-of-the-match award.

No batsman summed up South Africa's failures more than Duminy. He was all at sea during his 11-ball stay. He survived a first-ball nought when he reviewed an lbw decision for Broad and was reprieved as replays showed the ball had pitched outside leg stump. He then should have fallen lbw third ball but Tredwell, with everything in his favour as Duminy was beaten on the back foot, politely refused a review as if offered a second piece of lemon drizzle cake. Duminy soon chopped on against Tredwell in any case.

Tredwell's success did not end there. Faf du Plessis, who had been as secure as anyone, fell for 26 when he flashed at a quicker, flatter ball and was caught at the wicket.

The wicket, though, that brought hearty applause from Swann in the England dressing room will not appear against his name. It was the run out of McLaren who was so unhinged by flight and turn that he ran several paces down the pitch. Trott, who caught the ball at first slip, had the presence of mind to throw down the stumps to effect the run out.

At 80 for 8, South Africa's one consolation was that they batted deep. They at least avoided the lowest one-day score ever made at The Oval batting first, New Zealand's 158 against West Indies in 1975.

They immediately took the batting Powerplay, which Miller greeted by smashing Finn over long-on for six. Miller unveiled his T20 one-legged slash over point, Broad disappearing for six more, and Kleinveldt slugged away when Cook finally felt obliged in the 30th over to introduce his weaker bowlers in tandem.

Broad finally ended the recovery with successive short balls to dismiss Kleinveldt and Lonwabo Tsotsobe, first ball. All that remained for England was a regulation dose of Trott, the finest suppressor of panic disorder on the market.

David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Harmon on June 24, 2013, 10:36 GMT

    @JG2704: Since you seem a bit too intent, I'd like to ask you one thing. Suppose a tourist goes to some Place X knowing fully well that the Place X is not good for tourism, has fleecing shopkeepers, poor roads, tardy hotels, high crime rate blah blah. He goes there knowing all this and yet when he reaches there he starts cribbing about these very things. He starts making noise about hos this Place X is so bad and goes back swearing he will never come again. But in a few months he comes back again and again making those very complaints and goes back. Then he comes back again and again and again. Each time he leaves with those same complaints.

    Please tell me what will you advise him about all this. Think and tell.

    Cricinfo Mods: Pls publish. I've tried to explain a cricketing situation using an analogy of a weird tourist.

  • Harmon on June 24, 2013, 8:47 GMT

    @JG2704: There are many ways in which I'd like to expand on what I or Cpt.Meanster think about Tests/ODIs/T20s but the forum is a bit limited and too slow for me to do that. Putting it simply, you are wrong in thinking/arguing that Indian fans do not like Tests but like ODIs/T20s. You are free to make any combination of the 3 forms and I am asserting that Ind fans will 'generally' like that combo. So your argument that India should not play tests is invalid from the outset. I've often said and repeat here too that for all the love that Eng have for Tests, the disjointed set of Test fans from Ind will far outnumber it and the same is true for ODIs & T20s too.

    Talking specifically about Cpt.Meanster, pls search for a cricinfo article ---"ODIs about 60-40 in India's favour"--- & read what he said at Jan 9, 2013, 18:42 GMT.

    He said ------"While I do respect test cricket........"------. What does it mean?

  • Harmon on June 23, 2013, 6:23 GMT

    Cricinfo Mods : Pls publish.

    @JG2704: Why I brought Sachin in? Pls read that comment of mine where I explained the background to GG as it was clear to me why GRVJPR posted that comment. Sachin has often been criticized for failing in the big matches by some people who focus solely on his failures in such matches but who ignore those big matches where Sachin gave match winning performances + they also bring in those less imp matches where Sachin scored runs but India lost narrowly for eg Sachin's 175 vs Aus while chasing 350 & 136 vs Pak chasing 258. Some people have also called Sachin selfish for scoring 100s when Ind lost. Pls see the point here --- although it may seem so but no one's actually saying that Amla is a bad player or can't handle pressure. The hidden point is that anyone can be made to look like a selfish player using these tactics.

  • John on June 22, 2013, 11:00 GMT

    please publish this time - nothing of offence , just a question to another poster

    @Harmony111 on (June 20, 2013, 20:03 GMT) So a direct question - Do you agree with Cpt Meanster that England should not play the other formats or disagree with him?

  • Harmon on June 21, 2013, 21:10 GMT

    @Dark_Harlequin: Your comment somewhat proves what I am saying. If the idea is that Tests are better cos they are more difficult or challenging then it is like finding the drug for cancer vs doing the more fun filled activity. T20 is fun, ODI is fun. Of course Tests are fun too but that is a diff kind of fun. And we all have our own ways of seeking fun of various kinds.

    I didn't mean you do not think. I had asked you to think about that specific point. Sure you know that more people know about Bolt, Tyson & Powell. I have seen these guys run, I was waiting for the 100 metre Finals in the London Olympics. On the other hand, I honestly have not ever actually seen Gabrselassie running live and am not even sure if he runs the 5k or the 10k race. The other long distance runners I am partially aware of are Nureddin Morcelli and Hitchem El Gourejj. That's it.

  • John on June 21, 2013, 19:14 GMT

    @Chris_P on (June 20, 2013, 22:04 GMT) I don't have an issue with folk having preferences and have never tried to say tests are better etc. I enjoy,respect all forms of the game. Look forward to the Ashes and I'm not sure it'll be 1 sided like some here think. Aus were awful in India but that was as much the spin issue as anything and they did far better vs SA than the previous series. I see they have an import spinner of their own they're trying to get clearance for. Is that happening and how good is he?

  • Dummy4 on June 21, 2013, 9:56 GMT

    Just imagine how England would have gone in this series if KP had been fit.

  • Harmon on June 21, 2013, 9:32 GMT

    @YorkshirePudding: Things have been entangled a bit here. Let me tell you I don't dislike Tests at all, I love them. But besides Tests, I also love ODIs & T20s. I am a cricket sponge. You are free to have your own likings, no problem there. My sole point is, what Person X likes or dislikes is due to his own volition. What you or I think or what BCCI or ECB or Timbuctoo Cricket Board thinks should not mean that that Person X's opinion is inferior. He may even change his opinion some day, that is fine too. I don't usually watch Tennis nor do I follow it but I do follow French Open & Wimbledon with some passion. That does not mean that I should say those who watch US Open are all dumbos.

    And like I said, one may be ambivalent or even impertinent to ODIs/T20s and may be a Test connoisseur but that still doesn't mean he can look down upon those who have dissimilar tastes.

    I have made myself clear. If you still think I am wrong then pls point it out calmly.

  • John on June 21, 2013, 8:28 GMT

    @Pyketts on (June 20, 2013, 22:04 GMT) Out of interest , why would you need to move Trott up to open when he doesn't naturally open and is doing well at 3 or do you just want him out of the side altogether? Anyway the latter would be fantasy. But in such a world where both Cook and Bell were out you'd be altering the balance of the top 3 by 66% rather than 33% by just dropping 1. I suppose Root is a player who could play both types of role. Re Morgan - I still think he's capable of delivering big knocks as he proved vs India in T20 but I'd maybe try Buttler ahead of him in the order and give him more responsibility If I was looking at dropping Cook and Bell and have another batsman come in my preference would be Wright. And no , it doesn't seem strange altering the balance. I've been calling for it for a while

  • John on June 21, 2013, 8:02 GMT

    @Greatest_Game -

    Cheers bud. It makes a pleasant change to talk to folk who appreciate honest viewponts and if I disagree with your comms in the future , don't take it personally. I don't think there's any regular English (my own country) poster who I have not disagreed with at some point or other but it's impossible (if you're being honest) to agree with everyone all the time

    I think the game was a one off and the shots from AB and Hash are rarities. In the batting pretty much everyone bar Miller had a bad off day. Re Phangiso - I just feel he had the style to unsettle Eng. Although the job was pretty much done in the 1st inns I'd say Eng have more trouble (any fmt) vs quality spin than quality pace. Even though Steyn and VP cause us huge probs I'd always be happier to see our batsmen facing them than guys like Ajmal and Herath