ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / News

England v South Africa, Group B, World Cup 2011, Chennai

Broad seals England's six-run thriller

The Report by Andrew McGlashan

March 6, 2011

Comments: 186 | Text size: A | A

England 171 (Bopara 60, Trott 52, Tahir 4-38) beat South Africa 165 (Amla 42, Broad 4-15) by six runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

James Anderson brought England back into the contest with a brilliant mid-innings spell, England v South Africa, Group B, World Cup, Chennai, March 6, 2011
James Anderson put England back on track with the key wicket of AB de Villiers © Getty Images

What a World Cup England are producing. From a thrilling tie against India to the shock of losing to Ireland they have now conjured a stunning fightback to beat South Africa by six runs in a gripping contest on a tough pitch in Chennai. They took all ten wickets for 102 through a combination of spin, reverse swing, perseverance and the never-say-die-attitude which is such a trait of this team, with Stuart Broad sealing the victory with two wickets in four balls after Dale Steyn's 31-ball 20 had taken his team close to the winning line.

It showed you don't need 600 runs to create an epic one-day international and the celebrations when Morne Morkel was caught behind proved how important it was for England spirits. Without it they would have faced the real possibility of heading home early, but can now approach the clashes against Bangladesh and West Indies with much greater heart. What will please Andrew Strauss and Andy Flower is that it was the much-maligned attack that won the match - after the batting struggled to post 171 - as Broad took 4 for 15, James Anderson produced a devastating burst of reverse swing shortly before the 34-over ball change and Graeme Swann bowled with guile and craft to set up the prospect of victory.

Despite the tricky pitch, South Africa had broken the back of the run-chase after an opening stand of 63 between Graeme Smith and Hashim Amla. However, they suffered two slumps; the first as three wickets fell for 19 - with Broad claiming the vital scalps of Amla and Jacques Kallis - then the more significant slide from 124 for 3 to 165 all out as Anderson produced some wonderful reverse swing, Ian Bell pulled off a fine piece of fielding at short leg to run out Faf du Plessis, and Broad cleaned up the tail.

Swann could have dismissed Smith almost half a dozen times with spitting, turning deliveries until one finally bounced and brushed the thumb although it needed the DRS to overturn Asoka de Silva's on-field not out decision. Amla had moved along serenely despite the testing surface until he became a little lazy against Broad and chopped into his stumps. Kallis then edged a drive and, in a rare sight, accepted Prior's word on whether it had carried without asking for the umpires to check.

AB de Villiers, who began the tournament with back-to-back hundreds, and du Plessis are normally free-flowing batsman, but they decided to consolidate rather than attack during their 42-run stand. It wasn't a major problem for South Africa at the time with the asking rate remaining comfortable, but it conceded the momentum and when the breakthroughs came England still had runs to play with.

Anderson produced his finest spell of reverse-swing since the Ashes as he trimmed de Villiers' bails and then clattered JP Duminy's stumps two balls after he'd been reprieved by the DRS having been given caught down the leg side. It had been a controversial moment because there didn't seem enough evidence to overrule the on-field umpire, but Anderson soon made it irrelevant. In between those two wickets, Bell showed brilliant alertness at short leg as he stopped du Plessis's shot and flicked it to Prior in time to complete the run out.

Smart Stats

  • The 171 is the ninth time England have been bowled out for less than 200 in World Cups. Their lowest remains the 93 against Australia in the 1975 World Cup semi-final.
  • Imran Tahir's 4 for 38 is his best bowling performance in ODIs surpassing his 4 for 41 in the game against West Indies. The bowling performance is also the second best by a spinner against England in a World Cup game behind Abdul Qadir's 4 for 31 in 1987.
  • Robin Peterson's 3 for 22 is his best bowling display in ODIs surpassing his 3 for 42 against Pakistan in Dubai.
  • From a position of 124 for 3, South Africa lost their next four wickets for an additional three runs including three wickets with the score on 124.
  • Stuart Broad's 4 for 15 is the best bowling performance by ean England bowler in World Cup matches against South Africa and the seventh best by an English bowler overall in World Cups.
  • The 99-run stand between Jonathan Trott and Ravi Bopara is the second highest for the fourth wicket for England in World Cups.
  • Trott continued his excellent ODI form with his ninth half-century. He has now scored 1080 runs in 22 matches at an average of 54.
  • England's six-run win is their closest margin of victory in a World Cup match when thry have batted first. Their previous closest win was the nine-run win over India in the 1992 World Cup.
  • The 172 is the lowest target that South Africa have failed to chase in World Cups and the third lowest in ODIs.

England were buzzing, having taken 3 for 0, and the scoring remained at a standstill for the next three overs as Morne van Wyk and Robin Peterson struggled against spin. Michael Yardy, the weak link in the attack, then had Peterson caught behind trying to cut but the mandatory ball-change at 34 overs meant the threat of reverse swing was momentarily removed.

Andrew Strauss opted to keep Swann back for one over and used Yardy and Kevin Pietersen in tandem. Both were given one over too many as Steyn took advantage, driving Yardy through the covers and lofting Pietersen straight down the ground. Slowly but surely he and van Wyk chipped out 33 tension-filled runs.

However, because of the extensive use of the spinners Strauss was able to return to his quicks at the death and with 12 needed Tim Bresnan found van Wyk's inside-edge which crashed into the stumps. Then it was over to Broad who trapped Steyn lbw with his first ball and Morkel had clearly decided to try and finish the game quickly when he got the final edge.

Despite proving to be yet another thriller, the match could not have been a greater contrast to the two run-fests England were involved in Bangalore. It became abundantly clear this wouldn't be a 300-match when Peterson stunned everyone by removing both openers in his first over. The value of South Africa's rounded attack was again on show as the frontline spinners took seven wickets and were backed up by Morkel and Steyn with England losing their top three for 15 and last six for 37, but their failure to cross the line will raise old concerns.

Smith isn't known for out-of-the-box captaincy but it was clever to hand Peterson the new ball. Strauss tried to take an attacking approach by using his feet, but could only pick out de Villiers, who took a fine running catch at deep midwicket. If that was a bonus for South Africa they could barely believe what happened three balls later when Pietersen pushed forward and got a regulation edge low to first slip. Bell soon became Peterson's third as he pushed a return catch back to the bowler after being beaten in the flight.

Ravi Bopara, back in the side at the expense of Paul Collingwood, set about the recovery with Jonathan Trott, who was saved by the DRS after being given lbw against Imran Tahir on 20. Bopara nearly ran himself out on 26 - it wouldn't have been the first time - but a dive just saved him, then he broke a run of singles with a handsome straight drive for six before Trott reached fifty from 87 balls.

Having used up considerable time Trott needed to up the tempo but Tahir pulled off a fine return catch after deceiving his former Warwickshire team-mate in the flight. Prior had the chance to build an innings after previously needing to slog from the start but was undone by Morkel.

Bopara's 60, his first ODI fifty since November 2008, remained the top score and will have given him huge confidence for the rest of the tournament as he showed he could adapt to conditions. The lower order couldn't build momentum against Tahir and failing to use up 26 deliveries looked like being costly. However, once again England dug deep when all seemed lost and gave the World Cup another memorable finish.

Match Timeline

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

RSS Feeds: Andrew McGlashan


Comments: 186 
. Your ESPN name '' will be used to display your comments. Please click here to edit this.
Comments have now been closed for this article

Posted by Bhalram on (March 9, 2011, 1:28 GMT)

dont get too comfortable england. The west indies will tear u guys apart

Posted by Andrew on (March 8, 2011, 23:53 GMT)

@landl47 - sorry but I do have to have a laugh re:Broad being ruled out of the W/C with injury. (Sad for Broad I know & Pommy fans). Purely from the aspect that you really shouldn't have been bagging Tait as injury prone! Anyways that aside - it was very poor man management, if the injury is the same as what ruled him out of the Ashes 3 months ago!!!

Posted by Paul on (March 8, 2011, 8:13 GMT)

blah blah blah on Choker comments. Really it is very tired. Its a game of cricket, one team wins, the other loses, simple. Could have been anyone, stop labeling the SA side, its ridiculous.

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 7, 2011, 22:55 GMT)

anderson is such an amazing bowler when the pitch offers him even the slightest movement. it would be nice to see more pitches like this in the subcontinent! on a track like this i'd like to see dhoni even get off the mark..

Posted by Craig on (March 7, 2011, 19:19 GMT)

The pitch was tough to bat on, but with so many balls available, we should have won that match. Smith's form is not just problematic, it's now becoming a crisis, and his captaincy in this match was inspiring on the one hand (how he used Peterson) and frustrating on the other (taking the pressure off England by feeding them pace on that pitch too early on, when the ball wasn't reversing). If Smith was as good a captain as Strauss, England would have been decimated.

Posted by Martin on (March 7, 2011, 12:05 GMT)

@SnowSnake; " England's performance was poor". I guess it only takes a poor performance to beat SA then? I agree - it wasn't that good a performance from England - but it was still too good for SA. It's business as usual for England - beating SA again - just like in the ODI series back in SA. @Dave1957; you look like a pretty bad loser. Every team in this competition has its flaws. South Africas flaws are the same ones they've always had; they are chokers. @Spelele; where is your big talk now?

Posted by Stunner on (March 7, 2011, 9:53 GMT)

I got just one word for SA: "Chokers"

Posted by vinod on (March 7, 2011, 9:28 GMT)

The match between England and SA gave the real thrill and enthusiasm to ODIs. It has been proved that you are not sure to defend a 325+ score and you can even defend a meager 170+ target. The two matches England played against the Irish and the Proteas. It was preceeded by that huge 338 runs apiece match between England and India. And the opening match England played against the Dutch saw them scrap through against the relatively minnows. THIS IS THE REAL SPICY TEAM OF THE WORLD CUP 2011. There had been a widespread feeling that ODIs are dying a slow but inevitable death. Such matches really boost the morale and spirit of the game. England are no more dependent on KP alone. This time around there hadn't been many contributions from him even though England had managed 300+ in two matches and a 290+ in another. Strauss in good knick, Bell in "great luck" Jonathan Trott the Mr Dependable, good bowling from Swann, Bresnan, likely support from Broad and Anderson, Morga's return who knows

Posted by Ahmed on (March 7, 2011, 8:59 GMT)

Give me a C ...... give me an H ...... give me an O ...... give me a K ...... give me an E ...... give me an R ...... give me an S ...... ladies and gents, once again! =D

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 7, 2011, 8:59 GMT)

WHAT A CONTEST! I was watching it and it was interesting from the 1st ovr itself when smith survived an lbw anst yardy. bur when 100 run 3wkts i thought it was sliping away from ENG,but still SA were strugling to score . there were too many risks taken for singles . I miss the encounter after that for personal reason . INd was PLaying IRELAND but this contest was more interesting to me. Alas I missed it. The Chokers once again proved why they are named so. Well done ENgland, after a humiliation by IRELAND and geting out cheaply in this as well and then the come back to show real character. i want to see such content more and more. To make it happen again and again ICC shud rethink about the powerplay rules. Cricket is not all about sixes and fours. And shortening the length of the game( T20) might take out the glorious uncertainity factor out of the game. The shud be an even contest between bat and ball without fielding restrictions at any time . Great atch i missed

Email Feedback Print
Andrew McGlashanClose
Andrew McGlashan Deputy Editor Andrew arrived at ESPNcricinfo via Manchester and Cape Town, after finding the assistant editor at a weak moment as he watched England's batting collapse in the Newlands Test. Andrew began his cricket writing as a freelance covering Lancashire during 2004 when they were relegated in the County Championship. In fact, they were top of the table when he began reporting on them but things went dramatically downhill. He likes to let people know that he is a supporter of county cricket, a fact his colleagues will testify to and bemoan in equal quantities.
News | Features Last 3 days
  • No stories yet
News | Features Last 3 days
  • No stories yet

World Cup Videos