England were out of it for much of the match. South Africa had the almost perfect game, until it all came undone in shocking fashion even as England found themselves at the crunch end of the match for a fourth time in a row, this time with a result that actually went their way.
When Robin Peterson plucked three England wickets in no time, the match appeared South Africa’s for the taking. It seemed that way for three-fourths of the match. And then struck disaster as South Africa found themselves all knotted up against spin and a rusty middle order in the South Africa v England encounter in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 to lose the match in disappointing fashion. England though would be glad to get out of this one on the side of a much needed win.
South Africa showed more flexibility about their style in the field when they boldly opened the innings with Robin Peterson, while Johan Botha continued to be left on the sidelines. The move was instantly rewarded as Andrew Strauss tried to break free only to be caught while Kevin Pieteren fell to a catch in the slips to leave England three for the loss of two wickets at the end of the first over. More drama continued as Peterson dismissed Ian Bell off a brilliantly instinctive caught and bowled and it seemed England had been deflated early to rise after the tie against India and the stunning loss to Ireland.
However, Chennai was in for some more drama as a ninety-nine partnership was stitched between Jonathan Trott, who made a half century, and Ravi Bopara, drafted in for Paul Collingwood overnight, to score sixty runs in a commendable fight back effort as Graeme Smith went back to his fast bowlers.
It was not until Imran Tahir was introduced into the innings that England began to cave in once more. Tahir troubled the batsmen to the point of reaping yet another rich haul of four wickets as the England resistance fell through. From four for 114 in the thirtieth over, England had crumbed to 171 all out in the forty-sixth over as South Africa ripped through the order.
England fans continued to feel weak about England’s prospects in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 as South Africa made a strong start to the chase with a sixty-three run partnership for the opening wicket. Graeme Swann struck a little problem when he had the South African captain dismissed only for Hashim Amla, batting on forty-four, and Jacques Kallis to follow shortly courtesy Stuart Broad.
However, AB de Villiers resolute in his mission for South Africa and in conjunction with Faf du Plessis built South Africa from three down for eighty-two to a winning prospect at 124 in the thirty-second over.
But that is when things started to go seriously wrong for South Africa as they lost not one but three wickets on the same score as James Anderson finally struck rhythm in the tournament to peg back de Villiers and JP Duminy while Faf was run out. South Africa had firmly slipped out of control of the match when two runs later, they lost the vital wicket of Robin Peterson who could have helped them score the remaining runs.
At seven for 127, South Africa were staring defeat in the face. But Morne van Wyk began to slowly resurrect hopes for South Africa in the company of an unlikely partner in Dale Steyn. And for a team that had slumped in the face of the spin of Graeme Swann and Andrew Strauss’ employment of Kevin Pietersen and Michael Yardy, they found negotiating the batting on the pitch in Chennai a tricky proposition, albeit expected.
With the likes of Amla and AB doing so well, the middle order remained untested and in a difficult scenario, left it to the bottom half to do what the top order should have accomplished. The 33 run partnership edged South Africa close to England’s total at 160 before a cut shot went horribly wrong for van Wyk.
Steyn played incredibly for his twenty runs and in keeping South Africa’s hopes in the match alive. However, with only a wicket in hand, the proposition of getting eight runs more proved too much as South Africa collapsed for 165 in forty-eight overs as Broad turned out to be the surprise England bowler who quietly went about picking up four wickets for the match.