Image courtesy of: The Guardian
‘Mr Consistent’ did what he does best to knock South Africa out of the tournament
South Africa captain AB de Villiers was adamant that his side would not ‘choke’ during their semi-final encounter with England, but that was exactly what ended up happening as they were dominated and put out of their misery by Jonathan Trott.
Trott’s 82 and Joe Root’s 48 ensured England made it to the finals of the Champions Trophy, much to the fanfare of their home crowd.
England captain Alastair Cook won the toss and elected to bowl first on a hot and humid day with hopes that the ball would swing around.
The decision he made looked to be the right one as pace trio James Anderson, Steven Finn and Stuart Broad made early inroads into the South African batting line-up.
Off-spinner James Tredwell soon got into the act as he nabbed three quick wickets to leave South Africa teetering on the brink with the scoreboard reading 80/8.
Out of those 80 runs, Robin Peterson and Faf du Plessis had scored 56, with the former making 30 and the latter 26.
With the Proteas looking highly unlikely to get past the triple figure mark, David Miller came to the rescue with a quickfire half-century.
He was well backed up by pace bowler Rory Kleinveldt, who made a vital contribution of 43 runs.
South Africa were eventually bowled out for 175 with Miller remaining unbeaten on 56 off 51 balls, which included five boundaries and two sixes.
Broad and Tredwell both wreaked havoc on the Proteas batting line-up as they took three wickets apiece, while Anderson picked up two and Finn chipped in with one.
In their relatively simple chase of 176 to win, England were put on the back foot with the early wickets of captain Cook and Ian Bell, who scored 20.
However, Trott, who is also known as ‘Mr Consistent’, and Root steadied the innings with some brilliant running between the wickets and strokeplay.
Root continued to get lucky with all the unorthodox shots he played, while Trott, as he so normally does, played almost every stroke out of the cricketing textbook.
Trott was in impeccable form and he soon raced past his half-century, however, Root luck soon ran out as he tried one clever shot too many and was clean bowled by Jean Paul (JP) Duminy.
Eoin Morgan joined Trott at the crease and it was only a short while before England had reached their target with 75 balls to spare.
Trott finished on 82 not out off 84 balls, which included 11 boundaries, as England cruised to an easy seven-wicket win.
Chris Morris, Duminy and Kleinveldt were the only South African bowlers to take wickets, with each of them capturing one.
South Africa skipper AB de Villiers was disappointed with his team’s performance, but did praise Miller and Kleinveldt for their fighting spirit.
“The toss wasn’t that important,” de Villiers said. “It didn’t really do that much but England got their plans spot on. Under pressure from the word go, we just weren’t good enough.
“It was the hardest team selection I’ve had. Alviro would have been great in the team but we backed Hashim and Colin. I’m especially proud of David Miller and Rory, they kept fighting to the end and that’s what I expect from our guys.
“We tried everything with the ball but it got pretty flat in the afternoon. There’s no excuses. We had the talent to win this tournament. We just didn’t play well enough.”
Captain Cook meanwhile believed his side could not have played any better.
“That’s the performance you want in a semi-final,” he said. “Jimmy was outstanding which was fantastic. The other guys back him up, especially tricky Tredders. To win any tournament you need everyone to fire and we’ve got that so far.”
In a rather surprising move, Tredwell was named as of the Man of the Match ahead of Trott for his bowling figures of seven overs, 19 runs and three wickets.