Cricket: Defeated England net final place

Cricket: Despite another batting collapse by hosts, South Africa pay for their poor performance against Sri Lanka

South Africa 244-7

England 230 South Africa win by 14 runs

DESPITE DEFEAT by 14 runs, England duly won through to the Emirates Triangular final against Sri Lanka at Lord's tomorrow. With just 198 runs required to qualify on superior net run rate, after South Africa had scored 244, England passed the milestone with six wickets down in the 42nd over.

Although buoyed by their win this was probably a tournament too far for South Africa. Jaded after a sapping Test series, they were essentially skewered on the apex of the triangle by their lame performance against Sri Lanka. With six players in the squad over 30 they, too, will be looking for young blood before next year's World Cup.

Providing there was nothing excessively devilish in either the pitch or Allan Donald, this match was always likely to be a foregone conclusion. That England were made to struggle though after Nick Knight, with 74, and Graeme Hick, with 64, had put on 133 for the third wicket, suggests there are still major flaws to be rectified and this was the second batting collapse in two matches.

Fielding an unchanged side from the one at Lord's, England did not enjoy the best of starts. Taking quick singles is always a risky business but when the fielder in question is Jonty Rhodes, they suddenly become suicidal. Calling Knight through for a run, Alistair Brown was two yards short of his ground when Rhodes hit direct from backward point.

Two balls later, it could have been disaster. Caught on the crease in front of middle stump, Alec Stewart was fortunate to survive Pollock's howl for lbw. The bowler also felt he had him caught behind too, though subsequent replays proved inconclusive.

Undeterred, the captain went on to score a brisk 27, including a slashed six over third man off Donald, before Pollock had him brilliantly caught by Rhodes diving to his left.

Tired and frustrated by what has been a long tour, Pollock could not prevent himself from having a few words with the England captain. All lip readers would say, is that the phrase bore no resemblance to the usual niceties such as - "It's a real pleasure to play with a sporting gent such as yourself."

Say what you like about Hick, and most people do, he has a marvellous one-day record. When the bowlers are not allowed to get the ball above shoulder high and intimidate him, he controls the game.

Driving and cutting powerfully, while Knight played second fiddle, his 50, brought up with a pull for six off Pollock, put England in control. Mind you, when he was out, chipping Cronje to mid-on, the visitors rallied sufficiently to dismiss both Nasser Hussain and Knight. Only when the 198 was passed did the tension disperse.

Electing to bat first, South Africa altered their order. After Gough had removed the pair of left-handed openers cheaply, Rhodes joined Daryll Cullinan in a brisk partnership worth 48.

If Cullinan has disappointed this summer, Rhodes has excelled his billing, at least as a batsman. This time, though, the roles were reversed and it was Rhodes who fell first, tamely slicing a ball from Mullally to Stewart.

A talented expansive player constrained by a fussy mind Cullinan, somewhat in keeping with his perverse nature, chose the final game to show off his bountiful gifts.

He brought up his 50 by lofting Adam Hollioake's first ball over mid- wicket, before following it with a six over square leg. Within an over Hollioake was off, the Surrey captain embarrassingly hit out of the attack, as 20 runs were taken from 12 balls. Captain of the side 10 months ago, Hollioake now looks bereft of confidence.

At 140 for 3, South Africa were looking poised for a total in excess of 270. Alert to the danger, Stewart promptly recalled his trump card Gough who, in turn, promptly removed Cullinan's middle peg with a beauty that nipped back sharply off the seam. Gough, who once again bowled intelligently, was the pick of the England bowlers, and finished with 3 for 43.

The dismissal slowed South Africa's momentum and with Cronje, lbw to Croft reverse sweeping, and Kallis, chopping on to Austin, South Africa found themselves labouring on 172 for 6 with 10 overs to go.

Enter Symcox and his whirling bat to give a demonstration of one-day cricket as it used to be played - big shots at the death rather than the start.

Hitting 50 from 33 balls requires an element of luck and Symcox was put down by Hollioake at long-on when he was on three. After that it was carnage,and, as he neared his half-century, he struck four sixes in eight balls, the third off Martin landing at least 10 rows back in the stand at the City End.

His spirit, although belated - he took 2 for 36 as well - was not enough to extend South Africa's tour. After 15 weeks on the road, they did not look disappointed.

Henry Blofeld, page 22

EDGBASTON SCOREBOARD

South Africa won toss

SOUTH AFRICA

G Kirsten c Stewart b Gough 7

30 min, 22 balls

M J R Rindel lbw b Gough 10

22 min, 12 balls, 2 fours

D J Cullinan b Gough 70

95 min, 73 balls, 8 fours, 1 six

J N Rhodes c Stewart b Mullally 15

28 min, 17 balls, 3 fours

*W J Cronje lbw b Croft 31

84 min, 68 balls, 2 fours

J H Kallis b Austin 19

37 min, 35 balls, 1 four

S M Pollock not out 22

51 min, 33 balls, 1 four

P L Symcox b Mullally 51

36 min, 39 balls, 2 fours, 4 sixes

+M V Boucher not out 3

2 min, 3 balls

Extras (lb9 w5 nb2) 16

Total (for 7, 196 min, 50 overs) 244 Fall: 1-20 (Rindel); 2-25 (Kirsten); 3-73 (Rhodes); 4-140 (Cullinan); 5-160 (Cronje); 6-172 (Kallis); 7-241 (Symcox).

Did not bat: A A Donald, M Hayward.

Bowling: Gough 10-1-43-3; Martin 9-0-47-0; Austin 10-0-41-1; Mullally 9-0-33-2; Hollioake 2-0-22-0; Croft 10-0-49-1.

ENGLAND

N V Knight b Symcox 74

159 mins, 114 balls, 7 fours

A D Brown run out (Rhodes) 0

11 mins, 3 balls

*A J Stewart c Rhodes b Pollock 27

37 mins, 32 balls, 4 fours, 1 six

G A Hick c Symcox b Cronje 64

85 mins, 72 balls, 5 fours, 1 six

N Hussain c and b Cronje 1

8 mins, 3 balls

A J Hollioake b Symcox 10

21 mins, 17 balls, 1 four

R D B Croft c Rhodes b Rindel 8

23 mins, 18 balls

I D Austin b Donald 10

22 mins, 15 balls, 1 four

D Gough lbw b Pollock 15

18 mins, 14 balls, 2 fours

P J Martin c Cronje b Donald 1

5 mins, 3 balls

A D Mullally not out 1

6 mins, 3 balls

Extras (lb7,w11,nb1) 19

Total (202 mins, 48.5 overs) 230

Fall: 1-7 (Brown), 2-48 (Stewart), 3-161 (Hick), 4-170 (Hussain), 5-186 (Knight), 6-193 (Hollioake), 7-208 (Croft), 8-213 (Austin), 9-217 (Martin), 10-230 (Gough).

Bowling: Donald 9-1-41-2; Pollock 8.5-0-36-2; Kallis 4-0-24-0; Hayward 4-0-35-0; Symcox 10-0-36-2; Cronje 10-0-43-2; Rindel 3-0-8-1.

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