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Jonathan Agnew column

Jonathan Agnew
By Jonathan Agnew
BBC cricket correspondent

South Africa's Albie Morkel celebrates dimissing England's Kevin Pietersen
The final over of the powerplay summed up England's lack of impetus. It was the first maiden over of the tournament - and a wicket maiden at that

South Africa looked mighty impressive in their easy win over a desperately disappointing England.

Smooth and controlled in the field, South Africa took a couple of excellent catches, while their bowling attack is probably the best in the tournament.

They have real pace in Dale Steyn, Albie Morkel (who only bowled one over - a wicket maiden) and the very promising Wayne Parnell. With Johan Botha and Roelof van der Merwe bowling tight spin, they never let England off the hook.

Paul Collingwood's decision to bat first was a surprise - it must be easier to chase a known target in T20, especially if your batting is fragile and you have a suspicion that the pitch is not the best - but great store has been placed in England's opening partnership of Ravi Bopara and Luke Wright. To lose them both within the first two overs, therefore, was immediately ominous.

Bopara was completely deceived by a slower ball from Steyn, and dragged the ball into his stumps for two while Wright, on one, then aimed a drive at the very impressive Parnell and was caught behind.

Kevin Pietersen tried to retrieve some respectability from amongst the wreckage and got to 19 before opening his shoulders and was brilliantly caught at mid - on by Van der Merwe. That was in the sixth over, the final over of the powerplay, and it summed up England's lack of impetus that it was the first maiden over of the tournament - and a wicket maiden at that.


Owais Shah is an awkward customer in one-day cricket, with his powerful and flexible wrists - but he is a terrible runner and he was one frame away from immediately running himself out after some unnecessary hesitation. Luckily he survived, and then set about Van der Merwe as England desperately attempted to set a target that would test South Africa.

Collingwood's dismissal looked horrible - aiming a swipe at Jacques Kallis and losing two stumps - but this was a result of England's derisory run rate which was barely six runs per over. South Africa controlled the final overs perfectly.

England's problem then was to create pressure when the run rate required was so undemanding. South Africa began circumspectly, but could afford to play themselves in. Graeme Smith was beautifully caught on the run by James Foster and both Adil Rashid and Graeme Swann made the ball spin.

But there were not nearly enough runs on the board, and with Kallis looking in prime form, the South Africans cruised it.

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