England eased past South Africa with an emphatic victory in the semi-finals at the Oval to reach the 2013 ICC Champions Trophy final.
Alistair Cook’s men chased down a mediocre target of 176 with about 12 overs still to spare, Jonathon Trott scored an unbeaten 82 which saw England cross the winning line but it was mainly down to the bowler’s hard work earlier in the day.
After being put into bat first South Africa were bowled out for 175 in 38.4 overs and it was the ninth-wicket partnership of 95 between David Miller (56 not out) and Rory Kleinveldt (43) that added some respectability to the scoreboard.
James Anderson (2-14) set the tone with an outstanding new-ball spell then James Tredwell (3-19) and Stuart Broad’s (3-50) finished the job by sharing three wickets each.
Anderson sent Colin Ingram packing for duck after he was judged lbw in the fifth ball of the match and Steve Finn followed up by removing Hashim Amla (1) caught behind by Jos Buttler, the first of six catches for the English wicket-keeper.
From the African’s top order batsmen only Robin Peterson (30) played some positive shots hitting a couple of glorious boundaries and when he became Anderson’s second lbw victim the Proteas were really struggling on 45-3.
The South African skipper AB de Villiers was out for a nine-ball duck, playing a loose shot to give his wicket away. Off-spinner James Tredwell bowled out JP Duminy in the next over for three, the collapse continued as Tredwell dismissed Faf du Plessis (26) and Chris Morris for 3 either side of Ryan McLaren’s run out after quick thinking from Trott at second slip.
With the Proteas innings in complete disarray at 80-8 inside the 23rd over, Miller and Kleinveldt’s 96-ball stand helped as both men took an aggressive approach which almost paid off for a strong target until Broad removed Kleinveldt and Tsotobe (0) in successive deliveries.
Miller was left stranded on 56 not from 51 deliveries, which included two explosive sixes from Broad and Finn’s shorts balls.
In reply, England lost their openers early, Cook edged behind to De Villiers off Morris and Ian Bell nicked a width delivery from Kleinveldt leaving England 41-2 in 11 overs.
Joe Root (48) joined Trott in a third-wicket alliance of 145 which all but ended South Africa’s chances of a turnaround and the cause wasn’t helped by the absence of their seam attack spearhead Dale Steyn.
Root was bowled out sweeping Duminy (1-27) two away from his fifty, Trott faced 84 balls and hit 11 fours and Eoin Morgan (15 not out) supported him to finish off the job without any further problems.
With this victory England reach their second Champions Trophy final, the three lions previous final was in 2004 on that occasion victory went to West Indies and South Africa have once again failed at the semi-final stage.
England have not won a 50-over competition before, they have lost three World Cups and on Sunday they will want put the record straight at Edgbaston as they await the winner of Thursday’s semi-final between India and Sri Lanka.