World Cup 1999, seventh group A match

England v South Africa

At The Oval, May 22. South Africa won by 122 runs. Toss: England.

England's comfortable passage thus far was put in stark perspective by the South African steamroller. The attack was reshaped, with Fraser replacing Austin. This achieved little as Kirsten and Gibbs started with a century stand at five an over. But Ealham wobbled the ball around to good effect, and three wickets tumbled for one run. Gough then took two wickets in successive balls before Klusener's inimitable clean hitting swelled the total: he clubbed an undefeated 48 in 40 balls, and took 12 off Ealham's last over.

The target was still modest but England struggled from the start. Stewart and Hussain may have been unlucky with their decisions, but there was no excuse for the middle order's performance. Donald trapped Thorpe in his first over, and removed Flintoff for a duck in his third. In between, the battle of Zimbabwe's expatriates was won by Elworthy, who had Hick caught at mid-wicket. An inspired parry and grab by Rhodes at point accounted for Croft, and England just limped into three figures. Failure to reach a respectable total damaged their net run-rate; little noticed at the time, this was to prove fatal.

Man of the Match: L. Klusener. Attendance: 18,665.

© John Wisden & Co