Shah performs heroics as England reach semis

Much maligned batsman thrashes South Africa to all parts as Strauss' men knock out favourites

England confounded all predictions last night by qualifying for the semi-finals of the Champions Trophy. Their emphatic defeat of the favourites South Africa by 22 runs makes anything possible in the tournament now and a genuine air of self-belief is sweeping through the camp.

So unexpectedly impressive and regally entertaining was their batting performance that their captain Andrew Strauss said: "I have never seen an England side bat better than we did out there tonight. We were pretty down on confidence when we came here after the one-day series against Australia and one of the things we wanted to do when we came out here was to show people what we can do and not die wondering."

That England did in style. Their innings of 323 for 8, their highest against South Africa, contained 12 sixes, more than they have ever hit in a one-day innings. Six of them belonged to Owais Shah, one of the villains of the piece in the 6-1 drubbing by Australia earlier this month but a copper-bottomed hero last night.

His striking was outrageously bold and certain, vintage Shah perhaps, except he had never batted like it for England before. He deserved a hundred but was eventually out for 98, playing one of his least audacious strokes. Eoin Morgan, playing in only his 10th match for England, struck five sixes in an innings of 67 that spanned only 34 balls.

South Africa kept reasonable pace with the pursuit for four fifths of their innings but they were ultimately too reliant on their captain, Graeme Smith who made a career best 141. Towards the end of his innings there was a moment of controversy when Smith, suffering from cramp, was denied a runner by Strauss.

Smith, on 124 when the runner came on to the field and was sent packing, said he was making no excuses. But he added ominously: "I'm not going to slag Andrew but I was cramping and thought it justified a runner. He thought differently. One thing I know as an international captain is that eventually these things come back at you."

However, Strauss, who had demonstrated his sportsmanship when England defeated Sri Lanka on Friday when he recalled batsman Angelo Mathews following a mid-wicket collision in a run-out, was unequivocal. "Towards the end of a long innings tiredness and cramp can be a factor and it is down to preparation in some ways. The umpires were clearly uncomfortable with it and I didn't thing it merited a runner." He was running all the way to the Champions Trophy last night.

Life and Style
Steve Shaw shows Kate how to get wet behind the ears and how to align her neck
healthSteven Shaw - the 'Buddha of Breaststroke' - applies Alexander Technique to the watery sport
footballShirt then goes on sale on Gumtree
Terry Sue-Patt as Benny in the BBC children’s soap ‘Grange Hill’
voicesGrace Dent on Grange Hill and Terry Sue-Patt
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
A poster by Durham Constabulary
Cameron Jerome
footballCanaries beat Boro to gain promotion to the Premier League
Arts and Entertainment
Emily McDowell Card that reads:
artCancer survivor Emily McDowell kicks back at the clichés
Arts and Entertainment
Twin Peaks stars Joan Chen, Michael Ontkean, Kyle Maclachlan and Piper Laurie
tvBadalamenti on board for third series
Life and Style
Standing room only: the terraces at Villa Park in 1935
Ben Stokes celebrates with his team mates after bowling Brendon McCullum
sportEngland vs New Zealand report
Amal Clooney has joined the legal team defending 'The Hooden Men'
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine