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ICC World Cup
MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai
England claimed a thrilling six-run victory over South Africa in Chennai to get back on course for the World Cup knock-out stages.
England posted just 171 on a turning wicket and looked set to slump to another defeat after South Africa moved to 63 without loss.
Even at 124-3 the result did not look in doubt, but three wickets in four balls changed the complexion of the match.
An eighth-wicket stand of 33 between Dale Steyn and Morne van Wyk tilted an intriguing contest back into South Africa's favour again, before Tim Bresnan broke the partnership and Stuart Broad (4-15) took the last two wickets in four balls as the Proteas slumped to yet another agonising World Cup defeat.
After losing to Ireland on Wednesday, England needed to bounce back against the tournament favourites, but were quickly in trouble after Andrew Strauss won the toss and batted, losing both openers to Robin Peterson (3-22).
Strauss unaccountably picked out the only fielder in the deep on the leg side, launching Peterson towards the mid-wicket boundary where Francois du Plessis took a good catch on the move.
Pietersen clubbed his second ball through mid-on for two - only to push forward to the next and edge to Jacques Kallis low at slip.
Peterson quickly had his third wicket when Ian Bell was beaten in the flight and pushed a drive back at the bowler, who dived to his left to take a smart return catch.
The spinner was surprisingly replaced by Jacques Kallis at the Press Box end, allowing Jonathan Trott and Ravi Bopara a little breathing space.
Trott survived an umpire review to post an 87-ball 50, and Bopara would later follow suit at exactly the same tempo. But by then his partner was gone to Tahir's diving return catch.
Matt Prior could lend only temporary support, before guiding an edge behind off the pace of Morne Morkel.
Bopara, who had justified his recall by equalling his previous best score of 60, was pinned lbw on the back foot by a short ball from Morkel that stayed low.
Steyn then quickly made it 149-7 when Bresnan departed in similar fashion, and England's second slump saw their innings quickly wrapped up well inside the 50 overs.
Hashim Amla was significantly more comfortable than his captain Graeme Smith in a half-century opening stand which suggested South Africa would stroll to victory and maintain their perfect start.
Yet both went in quick succession. Smith, pushing forward at a Graeme Swann off-break, was adjudged by the TV review umpire to have nicked it with his glove.
Then the introduction of Broad, the fifth bowler used after Strauss had opted to start with spin, brought the wickets of Amla - chopping an attempted off-side steer onto his stumps - and Kallis, caught behind low down.
AB de Villiers and du Plessis appeared to steady South African nerves with a stand of 42, until both went on 124.
James Anderson returned to bowl De Villiers, and impressive reactions from Bell at short-leg were enough to run out Du Plessis - who had gone up the wicket to Swann.
Anderson then knocked back JP Duminy's off-stump without troubling the scorers, and Mike Yardy had Peterson edging behind, as South Africa hit the buffers.
But when Steyn struck Pietersen back over his head for a resounding four, it looked as if the momentum had changed again.
Anderson failed to hold a tough one-handed return chance from Steyn on 15 shortly afterwards, but Bresnan returned to tempt Van Wyk to chop on.
Still Steyn would not be moved until, with eight still needed in the 48th over, Broad was back to see him off lbw with a superb inswinger.
Tahir managed to get off strike but Broad was not to be denied and immediately had Morkel edging an attempted drive, launching scenes that had as much to do with relief as celebration.
What a bunch of chokers. Can't believe I got up at 3:30 am to watch such a collapse. The game was in the bag. Need Boucher back.
Posted 11:33 8th March 2011
get in there my en ger land at it again well done lads as a pom living down under for 27 years and the last result hiccup it will shut the aussies up cum on collie get off them biscuits we need u out there with that northern spirit go get them boys
Posted 07:16 8th March 2011
England have been pathetic ever since their Ashes win.
Posted 13:12 7th March 2011
Fantastic performance in the end ! It was never a good pitch to bat on and it was obvious that it would come down to who could do more with the ball ! Lets just hope they keep it up.
Posted 12:22 7th March 2011
ok, England did not beat South Africa. South Africa lost this game. If you have ever followed South Africa you will have noticed a trend that they have which is whenever they have a low total to achieve they do not go about getting it as fast as they can, they decide to go as slow as possible and pase themselves. This always backfires and leaves it to the lower order to sort out, which in most cases they do not do. England do not have the bowling attack to win a WC in the sub continent, besides Swan who bowled ok. Although SA are known as the chockers of international cricket i do think that this will be their 1 loss and will go on from here and win everything. Well i hope!!
Posted 08:58 7th March 2011
What I saw from watching this match is that if you get South Africa's top 4 out, there's very little to come after that(especially without Mark Boucher). Also that Michael Yardy is a very poor bowler, 1-46 off 9 overs when conditions are very favourable for spin bowlers. Where's Adil Rashid? This is a very open world cup, hard to pick a winner
Posted 05:12 7th March 2011
Once again SA lives up to the tag as CHOKERS!!!!!
Posted 04:29 7th March 2011
Why is it that when England lose , it is because they were bad but when they get a decent win it's because the opponents choked? I had SA up with Australia and India as favourites and England have just bowled out a side with Amla , Smith , Kallis , De Villiers , Duminy .. in it for less than 170. Superb bowling performance , even if it was a bowler friendly pitch. Maybe a bit harsh , but i think Yardy has gone off the boil with both bat and ball. Think Treadwell should replace him , otherwise what's the point in having a 3rd spinner in a 15 man squad if he'snot called upon when one of the spinners is underperforming? I hope KP is ok to stay on , but if injured it'd be great if Morgan can come back. It'd be great to have both players but to have neither would be a real blow. Esp as our best 1 day batsman Tres won't play for England
Posted 21:36 6th March 2011
Great Game! I can't take this kind of stress, but they produced an astonishing comeback after the irish game.
Posted 20:45 6th March 2011
Great response to the Ireland defeat bowlers put the South African batsmen under pressure and they couldn't cope. All of the England matches so far have been great viewing. Batting performance wasn't as good as in previous matches but that was probably due to the type of pitch and the spin that the SA bowlers found which deceived the batsmen.
Posted 19:01 6th March 2011
Thank God I have Sky! England's games have been really exciting and watching it live is superb. A lot of us Scots are supporting you England and want you to go on and lift the trophy. Good luck!!
Posted 18:29 6th March 2011
Great play england and great captaincy by strass..England is back with a bang
Posted 17:13 6th March 2011
I think its so harsh that i hear South African folk seem to think theyre chokers, its only them that think it, theyve 3 of the best batsmen in the world at the moment, however 3 that arent good enough all the time, i - as an Englishman would like to see them win it if we dont. England can win the world cup, i thought it after seeing that smoke screen series of one dayers in Australia and i thought it after the Ireland match, i have never thought it before but this side is good....even when theyre bad. theyre going to peak and beat all of them, they should have beaten India easily and have beaten the best side in the world today.
Posted 16:47 6th March 2011
Where have all the doubters gone now, eh? England to win the World Cup, we've shown we can match the two best teams in this tournament and that's without even being at our best with bat and ball!
Posted 16:45 6th March 2011
Epic game!!! lucky to watch it live at the stadium(my first ever game)turned out to be a memorable one .... come on ENGLAND!!!!!
Posted 16:35 6th March 2011
the england games should come with a GOVERNMENT HEALTH WARNING... well done the lads.
Posted 16:20 6th March 2011
It may well be a stress to watch England during this world cup! But they been in 3 of the best 5 games of the tournament so far. Quality, lucky, call it what ya want, it's epic watching.
Posted 13:22 6th March 2011
What a cracking game! Well done to strauss and the boys!!
Posted 13:17 6th March 2011
as a south african,i totally agree that the sa cricket team are clomplete chokers,we were cruising to victory
Posted 13:01 6th March 2011
Lots of people saying england havent been playing well but they have either matched or beaten what the wicket had dictated. No side has performed a task better than them in a match, so come on the boys!!!
Posted 12:48 6th March 2011