Shah performs heroics as England reach semis
Much maligned batsman thrashes South Africa to all parts as Strauss' men knock out favourites
Monday 28 September 2009
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.
Liverpool fans applaud Cristiano Ronaldo after master-class for Real Madrid, despite his Manchester United ties
Liverpool vs Real Madrid player ratings: Was Cristiano Ronaldo the star man? And how did Mario Balotelli fare?
Liverpool vs Real Madrid match report: Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema run Reds ragged at Anfield
Diego Costa injury: Chelsea striker forced into hospital ahead of Manchester United clash - reports
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was shirt swapping the real reason?
- 1 Marijuana use by teenagers does not result in a lower IQ or worse exam results, study finds
- 2 Watch what happened when food critics were unknowingly served McDonald's
- 3 Jimmy Carr's controversial Oscar Pistorius joke goes too far at the Q Awards
- 4 Australian café owner sparks debate after saying 'No' to having unruly children on premises
- 5 NHS staff banned from drinking tea or coffee on the job because it looks like they're not working hard enough
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Support for EU membership 'at highest level since 1991' with most Brits wanting to stay 'in'
Thousands with degenerative conditions classified as 'fit to work in future' – despite no possibility of improvement
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters