South Africa raced to 283 for 4 with 20 balls to spare in reply to England's 281. Cronje hit five fours and two sixes, one of which brought up his half-century. Cronje and Jonty Rhodes put on 117 in 101 balls for the fourth wicket to set up South Africa's win. Rhodes remained unbeaten on 61, scored off 63 balls, with five boundaries.
Daryll Cullinan, man of the match and the top scorer for South Africa with 69 off 70 balls, and Mike Rindel gave their team a dream start, scoring 100 runs in just 16 overs, as they hit 19 fours off England's pace attack of Peter Martin, Ian Austin and Mark Ealham.
Cullinan and Rindel were particularly severe on Ealham, whose first three overs went for 30 runs. Cullinan raced to 52 off 40 balls with 12 fours. The South African scoring rate slowed, though, with the introduction of the spinners, Ashley Giles and Graeme Hick.
South Africa managed just 50 runs between the 17th and 28th overs, leaving it to Rhodes and Cronje to stage a rescue act, a role they readily took to. Giles was the most impressive England bowler. His first seven overs cost only 14 runs and had the only maiden of the match plus one wicket, as he tied down South Africa. He finished with 1 for 41, his last three overs going for 27 runs. Hick was economical, too, bowling seven overs for 28 runs, and taking the prize wicket of Cullinan.
Earlier, a record sixth wicket stand for England of 112 between Neil Fairbrother and Adam Hollioake powered them to 281 for 7 in their 50 overs.
Fairbrother and the captain, Hollioake, came together at 95 for 5, after South Africa's Jacques Kallis and the spinner Nicky Boje removed Nick Knight, Graeme Hick and Graham Lloyd in the space of eight balls. Their 112-run stand for the sixth wicket came off 145 balls and topped an England record of 98 scored by David Gower and Ian Gould against Sri Lanka at Taunton in the 1983 World Cup.
Fairbrother scored 56 off 78 balls with two fours and a six, while Hollioake played a captain's knock by scoring an unbeaten 83 off 91 balls with 10 fours and a six. He helped England amass 83 runs in the last 10 overs. Kallis was the pick of the South African bowlers, finishing with 3 for 48.
England are now out of the tournament and South Africa go through to a semi-final against the winners of Monday's quarter-final between Sri Lanka and New Zealand.
England won toss
N V Knight c Boucher b Kallis 32
A D Brown c Kallis b Symcox 6
M A Ealham c Rhodes b Kallis 44
G A Hick lbw b Kallis 2
N H Fairbrother b Rindel 56
G D Lloyd lbw b Boje 0
*A J Hollioake not out 83
R C Russell c Benkenstein b Dawson 19
A F Giles not out 5
Extras (b3, lb19, w9, nb3) 34
Total (for 7, 50 overs) 281
Fall: 1-14, 2-80, 3-93, 4-94, 5-95, 6-207, 7-256.
Did not bat: I D Austin, P J Martin.
Bowling: Dawson 9-0-51-1; Symcox 10-0-45-1; Kallis 10-0-48-3; Cronje 3-0-19-0; Boje 10-0-39-1; Crookes 3-0-20-0; Rindel 5-0-37-1.
D J Cullinan c Fairbrother b Hick 69
M J R Rindel c Brown b Giles 41
J H Kallis run out 14
*W J Cronje c Brown b Hollioake 67
J N Rhodes not out 61
D M Benkenstein not out 13
Extras (b1, lb8, w7, nb2) 18
Total (for 4, 46.4 overs) 283
Fall: 1-113, 2-124, 3-135, 4-252.
Did not bat: D N Crookes, P L Symcox, M V Boucher, N Boje, A C Dawson.
Bowling: Martin 8-0-55-0; Austin 9-0-53-0; Ealham 7-0-51-0; Giles 10- 1-41-1; Hick 7-0-28-1; Hollioake 4.4-0-41-1; Brown 1-0-5-0.
Umpires: R S Dunne and S Venkataraghavan.Reuse content