Slick South Africa crush poor England
South Africa 114 for 3 (Kallis 57*) beat England 111 (Shah 38, Parnell 3-14)
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
South Africa put in a display worthy of their tag as pre-tournament favourites as they cruised to a seven-wicket victory against England at Trent Bridge after skittling the hosts for 111 in their first Super Eights match. Dale Steyn and Wayne Parnell set the tone with wickets in their opening overs and were backed up by impressive spin and fine catching, particularly Roelof van der Merwe's effort to remove Kevin Pietersen, and although the run chase didn't set pulses racing the result was never in doubt.
Only Owais Shah made a significant contribution for England as he made 38 off 33 with two sixes, but it was a forlorn effort as wickets fell regularly. When a scorecard reads as poorly as England's it's easy to criticise the batting - and some of the shot selection was poor - but South Africa were outstanding in every facet of their game. They could have charged down the small total, but chose to take their time on a surface that grew slower by the minute - a key factor in Paul Collingwood deciding to bat first - yet still eased home with 10 balls to spare as Jacques Kallis helped himself to an unbeaten 57.
Winning a rare toss was about the only thing that went well for England. South Africa started the match in perfect style when Steyn removed Ravi Bopara with his fifth ball as an inside edge crashed into off stump. Luke Wright then found that opening against a top-quality attack was a different proposition from the Netherlands or lacklustre Pakistan efforts. He was beaten twice by the impressive Parnell, as he tried to crash the ball through the off side, then edged another attempt to the keeper to leave England 4 for 2.
The scene was set for Pietersen, but it proved another case of KP failing and England failing with him. He opened his account by whipping his first ball from Steyn imperiously through midwicket and drove the next through mid-off as Steyn momentarily had problems with his run-up. Two more boundaries followed off Kallis's opening over, but the next bowling change was decisive.
Albie Morkel's second delivery was a low full toss and Pietersen hit it pretty well and fairly straight, but van der Merwe went airborne to his left at mid-on and got both hands to a stunning catch. It was a huge moment for both teams, deflating for England and completely uplifting for South Africa. Morkel's successful over was the first maiden of the tournament and England's tally of 25 for 3 the lowest six-over total so far in the event.
Shah and Collingwood had no choice but to opt for a period of consolidation as Graeme Smith quickly turned to his spinners. Shah injected momentary life into the innings when he launched a full toss from Johan Botha down the ground for six then he followed that by attacking van der Merwe's next over, launching him straight and taking two more boundaries through cover and midwicket, but the revival didn't last.
Kallis returned to the attack and after Collingwood paddled him for four past the diving Mark Boucher, Kallis responded by clattering the stumps as the batsmen backed away to give himself room and then greeted James Foster with a rearing bouncer.
Despite having been taken for 17 in his previous over, van der Merwe had the confidence of his captain and responded with an over which effectively killed off the innings. Foster tried to reverse sweep the first ball but just lobbed a simple catch to short third-man and Dimitri Mascarenhas lasted three deliveries before backing away to cut, losing his off stump.
The last hope of England setting anything competitive lay with Shah, but he was undone by a sharp delivery from Kallis that moved away a fraction and took the edge. It meant the lower order was left having to try and bat out the 20 overs and they couldn't managed it when Parnell gave himself superb figures by cleaning up Stuart Broad and James Anderson in two balls.
Smith fell early in the chase as he top-edged a pull and was well caught by Foster who ran towards short fine-leg. England actually bowled reasonably well, but the game had long since been lost during their innings. Kallis enjoyed the rarity of being able to bat within himself during a Twenty20 innings to reach fifty off 46 balls. This was an ominously slick display from South Africa but for the hosts, who lifted their game in the nick of time in the group stage against Pakistan, another huge improvement is needed to have a chance of progressing further.
Andrew McGlashan is assistant editor of Cricinfo