CENTURION, South Africa, CMC – South Africa’s captain Graeme Smith cracked a robust hundred but the home side plunged out of the ICC Champions Trophy after a painful loss to England yesterday.
Sent to bat, England amassed 323 for eight off their 50 overs, and although Smith plundered 141, South Africa could only reach 301 for nine off their 50 overs in their reply to lose the Group B match in front of their home fans at SuperSport Park.
The victory guaranteed England a semi-final spot.
Smith stood alone in the South Africa innings as wickets fell steadily and England made sure they kept control.
The skipper’s magnificent innings came at better than run-a-ball rate, lasting just 134 balls and laced with 16 boundaries.
AB de Villiers (36) JP Duminy (24) and Herschelle Gibbs (22) were the next highest scorers in the South Africa innings while pacer James Anderson was the pick of the England bowlers with three for 42 off his 10 overs.
Anderson shared six wickets with his pace partner Stuart Broad (3-67).
Earlier, England’s top-order shone brightly with beefy half centuries from man of the match Owais Shah, who fell just two short of a hundred, Paul Collingwood and Eoin Morgan after openers Andrew Strauss (25) and Joe Denly (21) got starts but missed out on big scores.
No.3 batsman Shah thumped a terrific 98 off 89 balls that included five fours and six sixes in a rampant 163-run third-wicket stand with Collingwood.
They took the score from 59 for two to 222 when Shah departed, caught behind off Johan Botha when he tried to work the off-spinner through the on-side.
The ball glanced off the inside edge onto the pad and lobbed for an easy catch to Mark Boucher.
Collingwood had also looked set for a hundred when pacer Wayne Parnell bowled him off the inside edge for 82 off 94 balls with six fours and one six.
The in-form Morgan produced the most blazing knock of the innings, cracking 67 off 34 balls with four fours and five sixes.
Morgan, whose unbeaten half-century led England past Sri Lanka on Friday, was the last wicket to fall, brilliantly caught by Smith diving low at extra-cover.
Parnell led the South African wicket-takers with three for 60 off his 10 overs and Botha claimed two for 56.