England won the toss and elected to field first, which was justified by the way that they started, with SA in trouble at 43/3 after 6 overs. This would be the first game where SA have needed their middle order and they stabilised the ship taking SA to 91 runs before Boucher was out. Pollock went back to the dugout for a golden duck followed soon by Kemp.
SA were 94/6 after 15 overs at this stage and if England had held onto some chances they score line wouldn’t have been so flattering. Albie Morkel, coming back from the wilderness showed why he is a player to watch in the future as he tore apart England’s fragile bowling line up. Morkel hit three 6’s in a row off Schofield’s over which got SA back on track, allowing a respectable total of 154 all things considered.
England’s selection policy might well be the topic of their newspapers in the morning as they decided to elevate a struggling Wright, a youngster with an incredible talent, to open the batting after failing in the other matches. He lasted 4 balls before going back to the dugout.
Pietersen was always going to be the key man and a very unfortunate run out involving him colliding into Shaun Pollock and losing his bat in the process, which consequently found him wanting with a direct hit by Ntini. After many replays it seems that KP wasn’t watching where he was running and paid the price. Collingwood was back in the dugout with KP after the first ball he faced and England looked in trouble. Prior and Shah rebuilt the innings and at the end of the 12th over England needed 76 off 48 which is rather reachable in this format.
The hero on the batting front for SA ensured his man of the match status by picking up Prior in his first over and Shah in his second, both key wickets which brought about the crumbling of the chase by England and allowed a 19 run victory to the Proteas.
SA should know that even though it was a decent win in the end, the English bowled and batted far better than they did. England missed roughly 7 chances and their poor fielding was the difference between the two sides that and Albie Morkel who won it for SA. Without his quick fire 43 or his 2 wickets in 2 overs for 12 runs, SA would have come second in this game.
Anderson bowled superbly and for the first time justified his recall, he hasn’t impressed me much recently, he gets wickets but is usually expensive and inconsistent. England look a very dangerous side in this format and may well cause an upset in the semi’s if they get there.