ICC World Twenty20 / News

South Africa v England, Group E, Cape Town

South Africa stifle feeble England

The Report by Andrew Miller

September 16, 2007

Text size: A | A

South Africa 154 for 8 (Morkel 43, Broad 3-37) beat England 135 for 7 (Shah 36, Pollock 2-17) by 19 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Shaun Pollock taught Luke Wright another harsh lesson about international cricket, as he fell for his second duck of the tournament © Getty Images

South Africa's bowlers, inspired by an exemplary spell from Shaun Pollock and lifted by the controversial run-out of Kevin Pietersen, throttled England's overawed batsmen under the floodlights to seal a vital victory in their opening Group E encounter at Newlands. A quickfire 43 from 20 balls from Albie Morkel had lifted South Africa to a decent total of 154 for 8, but England made it look positively mountainous thanks to some rash top-order shot selection and a feeble attempt at slogging from the tail.

England's prospects at the halfway mark had been good. Their bowlers had been badly let down in the field, with four gilt-edged chances spurned in the deep, but a target of 155 was not out of the question, especially with Pietersen back facing the country of his birth. On his last visit to South Africa in 2004-05, he scored 454 runs in six ODI innings, and while he was at the crease, looking ominously composed despite (or, perhaps, because of) the chorus of boos that greeted his arrival, England looked well placed to secure an important victory.

Instead Pietersen was run out for 14 after a controversial mid-pitch collision with the bowler, Pollock, and in his absence England's momentum and resolve crumbled. The incident brought to mind a similar moment in Kolkata in 1998-99, involving Sachin Tendulkar and Shoaib Akhtar in the Asian Test Championship. Then as now, the batsman could have no complaints. He was caught ball-watching as Makhaya Ntini produced a pinpoint shy from backward square-leg, and Pietersen was caught inches short as he got his bat wedged between Pollock's legs and flipped dramatically into the crease.

It was the moment of the match, but South Africa were worthy winners regardless. Pollock produced a superb spell. He conceded just 17 runs and a solitary boundary in his four overs, and was involved in each of the first three wickets to fall. Luke Wright - a minnow among sharks in this tournament - squirted a fretful drive to point for his second duck in three games, and moments after Pietersen's demise, Paul Collingwood wafted loosely at his first delivery and was caught behind off a legcutter.

Thereafter, England were listless. Matt Prior, still struggling to impress as a pinch-hitter, swatted one four and one six in a 31-ball stay, but once again fell when apparently well set. The only other batsman to reach 30 was Owais Shah, who seemed well placed to be England's hero until he picked the wrong ball to pull off a good length, and had his bails trimmed by the excellent Albie Morkel.

England's lower-order were sadly out of their depth - not least the off-colour Flintoff, whose dancing feet betrayed his unease as he attempted to swipe every other ball over the midwicket boundary. He was badly dropped at deep cover by Vernon Philander as he carved a short ball from Morkel, but it was no surprise when, with 35 runs needed from 10 balls, he stepped across once too often, and was bowled round his legs by Johan van der Wath.

The key dismissal: Kevin Pietersen trips over Shaun Pollock and is caught short by Makhaya Ntini's direct hit © Getty Images

Jeremy Snape - like his fellow county Twenty20 star Darren Maddy - found the step-up in class insurmountable amid the pressure. Bizarrely sent in ahead of the six-hitting Dimitri Mascarenhas, he prodded and poked for 11 agonising deliveries before chipping a lofted drive to cover. England's challenge faded long before their mathematical prospects elapsed in the final over, but in truth it was over from the moment Pietersen fell. That is the extent to which his presence dictates their fortunes.

With the ball and in the field, England's challenge was vastly superior, though equally error-prone. The bowlers made key breakthroughs at regular intervals, with Stuart Broad starring with 3 for 37. His wickets included that of J-P Duminy - included in the place of the injured Herschelle Gibbs - with his first delivery, while several of South Africa's batsmen were guilty of over-ambition.

Graeme Smith top-edged a heave to third man and AB de Villiers swished loosely outside off stump to leave their side precariously placed at 43 for 3 at the end of the six-over fielding restrictions, and though Mark Boucher and Justin Kemp kept their side ticking over with a fourth-wicket stand of 49 in 50 balls, they lost three further wickets in 11 balls - including Pollock for a duck - to slip to 94 for 6.

But Albie Morkel was badly missed in the deep on 14 as Collingwood and Shah each left a top-edged pull to the other man, and Morkel immediately climbed into the luckless bowler, Schofield, swinging the last three balls of an excellent spell for six. Schofield himself then palmed a limp attempt at a catch at long-on onto the rope for a further four, as South Africa helped themselves to a total that was at least 20 runs above their expectations. In the event, those runs proved decisive.

Andrew Miller is UK editor of Cricinfo

RSS Feeds: Andrew Miller

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Email Feedback Print
Andrew MillerClose
Andrew Miller Andrew Miller was saved from a life of drudgery in the City when his car caught fire on the way to an interview. He took this as a sign and fled to Pakistan where he witnessed England's historic victory in the twilight at Karachi (or thought he did, at any rate - it was too dark to tell). He then joined Wisden Online in 2001, and soon graduated from put-upon photocopier to a writer with a penchant for comment and cricket on the subcontinent. In addition to Pakistan, he has covered England tours in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, as well as the World Cup in the Caribbean in 2007
Tournament Results
India v Pakistan at Johannesburg - Sep 24, 2007
India won by 5 runs
Australia v India at Durban - Sep 22, 2007
India won by 15 runs
New Zealand v Pakistan at Cape Town - Sep 22, 2007
Pakistan won by 6 wickets (with 7 balls remaining)
South Africa v India at Durban - Sep 20, 2007
India won by 37 runs
Bangladesh v Pakistan at Cape Town - Sep 20, 2007
Pakistan won by 4 wickets (with 6 balls remaining)
Australia v Sri Lanka at Cape Town - Sep 20, 2007
Australia won by 10 wickets (with 58 balls remaining)
More results »
News | Features Last 3 days
News | Features Last 3 days