England trot into title round

Trott, Tredwell sparkle as hosts brush aside SA by seven wickets in semis

England trot into title round

Nearly nine years after they lost the Champions Trophy final to the West India here at The Oval, England earned another chance to claim the title, beating South Africa by seven wickets in a lop-sided semifinal at the same venue.

Having restricted an out-of-sorts South Africa to a modest 175 all out in 38.4 overs, England replied with 179/3 in 37.3 overs in a chase marked by an unhurried approach. England did suffer early setbacks in the shape of skipper Alastair Cook and a little later his opening partner Ian Bell, but given the small nature of their task, England had few reasons to panic.

The calm presence of Jonathan Trott (82, 84b, 11x4) and the enterprising Joe Root (48, 71b, 7x4) saw England pile 105 runs for the third wicket that effectively killed the chase. South Africa once again were forced to leave with the chokers’ tag embossed on their images. Dale Steyn’s absence did weaken their attack but with the kind of batting South Africa displayed, even the world’s best fast bowler would have found it difficult to salvage the situation.

England now await the winner of the second semifinal between India and Sri Lanka in the final at Edgbaston on Sunday. Opting to bowl first in overcast conditions which later gave way to bright sunshine, England had South African batsmen in all sorts of trouble; first stifling the top-order with swing and then strangling the middle and lower middle-order with man of the match James Tredwell’s off-spin.

England’s ability to reverse the ball early has created quite a controversy here, but on the day it was the conventional swing of James Anderson and company that flattened the Proteas. But for an entertaining stand of 95 runs for the ninth wicket between David Miller (56 n.o., 51b, 5x4, 2x6) and Rory Klienveldt (43, 61b, 4x4, 1x6), who replaced an injured Steyn, South Africa could have crashed to an embarrassing total after being reduced to 80 for eight.

The carnage began right in the first over, when Anderson caught opener Colin Ingram plumb in front with the fifth ball of the day. Having set Ingram up with an outswinger, the right-arm quick slipped one that straightened up to wrap his pads. The southpaw held a brief discussion with his partner, Hisham Amla, before deciding against reviewing the decision.

The biggest blow to South Africa was delivered by Steven Finn who was playing his first match of the tournament after Tim Bresnan left the squad to be with his pregnant wife. Finn got one to shape away from Amla and as the batsman tried to leave, the ball tickled the toe of the bat to land in the big gloves of Jos Buttler. This was the first of six catches that the wicketkeeper held on the day, a couple of them being extraordinary takes.

Anderson, who bowled a seven-over first spell for returns of 2/11, ended a 41-run third-wicket stand between Robin Peterson and Francois du Plessis winning an lbw shout against the former. Peterson’s dismissal led to a free fall which saw South Africa lose six wickets for just 35 runs. While skipper AB de Villiers fell to a moment of indiscretion, slashing at Stuart Broad’s harmless delivery. Graeme Swann’s replacement -- Tredwell -- then cashed in on South Africa’s largesse, claiming 3/19 including the wickets of du Plessis and JP Duminy. 
   
Just when it appeared that England were going wipe the tail off in a hurry, Miller and Kleinveldt launched a counter attack to give the South African innings a semblance of respectability. But just that.

Score Board:

SOUTH AFRICA

Ingram lbw Anderson    0
(5b)
Amla c Buttler b Finn    1
(3b)
Peterson lbw Anderson    30
(41b, 4x4)
Du Plessis c Buttler b Tredwell    26
(39b, 3x4)
De Villiers c Buttler b Broad     0
(9b)
Duminy b Tredwell    3
(11b)
Miller (not out)    56
(51b, 5x4, 2x6)
McLaren (run out)    1
(5b)
Morris c Buttler b Tredwell    3
(6b)
Klienveldt c Buttler b Broad    43
(61b, 4x4, 1x6)
Tsotsobe c Buttler b Broad    0
(1b)
Extras (LB-6, W-6)     12

Total (all out, 38.4 overs)     175

Fall of wickets: 1-1 (Ingram), 2-4 (Amla), 3-45 (Peterson), 4-50 (de Villiers), 5-63 (Duminy), 6-70 (du Plessis), 7-76 (McLaren), 8-80 (Morris), 9-175 (Klienveldt).

Bowling: Anderson 8-1-14-2 (w-3), Finn 8-1-45-1 (w-1), Broad 8.4-0-50-3 (w-2), Tredwell 7-1-19-3, Root 3-0-22-0, Bopara 4-0-19-0.
Runs during Power Play1: 1-10 overs: 45/2; Power Play2: 24-28 overs (batting): 38/0.

ENGLAND

Cook c de Villiers b Morris    6
(21b)
Bell c de Villiers b     20
(30b, 2x4)
Trott (not out)    82
(84b, 11x4)
Root b Duminy    48
(71b, 7x4)
Morgan (not out)    15
(19b, 2x4)
Extras (LB-4, W-4)    8

Total (for 3 wkts, 37.3 overs)    179

Fall of wickets: 1-22 (Cook), 2-41 (Bell), 3-146 (Root).

Bowling: Morris 8-1-38-1 (w-3), Peterson 9.3-1-49-0, Duminy 5-0-27-1, Tsotsobe 5-0-26-0, Kleinveldt 4-0-10-1, Mclaren 6-0-25-0 (w-1).
Runs during Power Play1: 1-10 overs: 39/1.

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