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Page last updated at 20:53 GMT, Sunday, 27 September 2009 21:53 UK

Superb England reach Trophy semis

ICC Champions Trophy, Centurion:
England 323-8 beat South Africa 301-9 by 22 runs

Match scorecard

Andrew Strauss and James Anderson
Strauss and Anderson celebrate as England close in on victory

By Oliver Brett

England became the first team to reach the Champions Trophy semi-finals thanks to a thrilling 22-run win which knocked South Africa out of the tournament.

Owais Shah struck six sixes in his 98 and Paul Collingwood made 82 before Eoin Morgan launched a stunning attack.

He hit five sixes in his 67 off just 34 balls to power England to 323-8.

Graeme Smith struck a magnificent 141 but James Anderson (3-42) bowled one of the spells of his career as South Africa finished on 301-9 in Centurion.

Significantly, by failing to make 313, South Africa saw their net run-rate drop below Sri Lanka's and that means the hosts and world number one side are eliminated from Group B.

For the despondent home fans, it was a night that recalled the desperate scenes at Durban in 2003, when they exited the World Cup at the same stage.


But for England, thrashed 6-1 in their home series by Australia, victory marks a sensational turnaround in the team's fortunes.

England won the toss and there were immediate signs of the potential for a high-scoring game as Andrew Strauss and Joe Denly pierced the infield regularly.

The momentum dissipated when Denly lazily flicked Jacques Kallis to deep square-leg and Strauss, attempting a deliberate steer past Mark Boucher, instead gave the wicketkeeper a sharp chance which he gratefully accepted.

With two wickets down inside 13 overs, Shah and Collingwood had to bat responsibly and there was little sign that a score near 300 might be on the cards when England were 93-2 after 20 overs.

But, in the 30th over, Collingwood deposited spinner Roelof van der Merwe onto the grassy banks at deep midwicket, and Shah - who up until then had been outscored by his partner - suddenly moved into top gear.

Graeme Smith
Graeme Smith played a lone hand with an outstanding century

The Middlesex right-hander, so often an enigma, exploded - moving from 53 to 95 in just 14 deliveries. JP Duminy was slog-swept for one six, the luckless Van der Merwe disappeared over long-off and deep midwicket and even Dale Steyn was pulled high over deep square-leg for yet another six.

But perhaps realising how close he was to what would have been his second ODI century, he then looked for singles and popped a catch to Boucher off inside edge and pad off the slow bowling of Johan Botha.

The wicket unleashed Morgan, however, who got off the mark with a reverse-sweep for four and proceeded to time the ball sweetly to all corners.

Collingwood also missed out on a century when chopping Wayne Parnell onto his stumps, but Morgan, having lofted Botha for a big six over wide mid-off, now drove and pulled the fast bowlers for fours and sixes.

It was an exhilarating display, finally ended when he speared a catch off Steyn to extra-cover, but England must have been confident their bowlers could defend such a total, despite the nature of the wicket.

Herschelle Gibbs looked to put England's bowlers under immediate pressure but, coming off an injury, he played and missed frequently in his breezy 22 before skewing a catch to mid-on off Anderson.

Kallis had hurt himself bowling and it was not clear if he was 100% fit, but he was swiftly removed from the fray, holing out at deep square-leg off Stuart Broad.

Smith and AB de Villiers put on 78, though England would have had a real stranglehold had Collingwood held a straightforward chance at backward point to end De Villiers' innings on just three.

Eoin Morgan
Morgan gave England a late injection of rapid run-scoring

De Villiers did not really make England pay, giving Denly his second catch on the leg-side boundary as he completely mistimed an attempted slog off Collingwood.

The launch-pad was now set for Smith to put his team in a winning position and he had fortune on his side.

He was badly dropped on 82 by Shah, running in from long-on, and as the left-hander began to struggle for timing, Graham Onions saw a perfectly good lbw appeal denied when Smith had added two more runs.

At that point, South Africa were staring at a requirement 148 from 17 overs, and suddenly regular boundaries were required.

Smith, having looked jaded moments earlier, duly supplied them, reaching his eighth one-day international century with a delicate cut shot off Collingwood for four.

He added 64 with Duminy, who was well bowled by Graeme Swann, and continued the fight after Anderson had bowled Boucher, leaving 86 wanted off the last eight overs with five wickets in hand.

The batting powerplay was taken at that point, forcing all but three of England's fielders inside the ring, and Albie Morkel put the pressure back on England with a four and a six off Broad.

Anderson returned with a terrific over, with just two leg-byes and a single, and with Smith now suffering from cramp - and refused a runner by Strauss - England closed out the game.

Morkel was run out as he attempted to scamper a bye to emergency wicketkeeper Morgan (Matt Prior missed the match with a virus) and Botha popped up a catch off his second ball.

Smith continued to put bat to ball but when Anderson demolished Van der Merwe's stumps and Shah finally ended Smith's wonderful innings with a catch on the edge of the ring, that was effectively that.

Though Smith had to face the nation's media afterwards to explain his team's exit, he had nothing to be ashamed of having muscled 16 boundaries in his highest ODI score, with Broad taking the most severe punishment.

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see also
Our best batting ever - Strauss
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South Africa v England as it happened
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Davies comes into England squad
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Morgan leads England to victory
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Strauss talks up England chances
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England v Sri Lanka photos
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South Africa too strong for Kiwis
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Live cricket on the BBC
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ICC Champions Trophy 2009
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