ICC Champions trophy Semi Final review: South Africa self destruct!

South African batsmen didn't even bother bringing knives to a gunfight. England walked leisurely to the final of the ICC champions trophy 2013

News came through this morning that South Africa would go into the semi final without the best bowler in world cricket. The absence of Dale Steyn was a blow to the Proteas bowling attack, but it was their batsmen who let the side down miserably...

Key Moment

Amla OUT! Caught Butler. Bowled Finn.

South African middle order self destructed with De Viliers, Duminy and Du Plessis all giving their wickets away softly. An inside edge from Amla's attempted leave could just as easily raced to the fine leg boundary for 4 on a different day. As it was the one batsman capable of handling pressure departed for 1. The Proteas surrendered soon afterwards. 

The Punisher

James Tredwell officially won the ICC man of the match award but in reality the award was rather generous. He bowled darts outside off stump, and all his wickets were batsmen errors. Du Plessis wafted needlessly at a harmless one outside off. Duminy inside edged a short wide one onto his stumps. Morris managed to somehow play around another straight one outside his off stump. All three were ordinary deliveries which on a different day could've easily gone for runs. James Anderson on the other hand was the one who turned the screw for England and took two crucial wickets of Ingram and Petersen. Ingram came into the game on the back of a solid innings against West Indies and Petersen looked comfortable at the crease before the Burnley express removed them both. Granted the conditions were suitable for swing bowling but Anderson made full use of those conditions and was pivotal in taking England to the final. 

England's win was Trott's fault

Trott's level of concentration isn't limited to his batting, his fast thinking run out dismissal of McLaren left Saffers suffocating at 76-7. He's by no means as attractive to watch as a KP or Gayle but reliable he certainly is. The run chase was tailor made for him and like clockwork he obliged. England are lucky to have him. 

TFC award (Thanks for coming)

There are a few South Africans up for this award but to throw a curve ball, If this was an episode of apprentice you're fired. The award for "the one that got away" would go to Ian Bell. While Cook also didn't get many today he did score runs in the last must win game for England. Bell failed again and dropped a catch (albeit it a difficult  one) He has an amazing ability of scoring runs in games that are either dead rubber or lesser pressure ones. England need him to step up in the final, This is International cricket after all, there's no room for passengers.  

Safe Pair of hands 

Jos Butler may have choked batting in the tournament thus far, but his wicket keeping was exceptional in this match with six catches. The catch to remove Du Plessis in particular was arguably his best.  Deviation of the ball from an off spinner can vary depending on faintness of the nick from the bat. Butler's hand positioning and concentration were immaculate. A wicket keeper with lesser ability might have dropped the chance, luckily for England he held on and removed a very dangerous batsman. If he can learn to handle the pressure when batting it could lead to a decent career for England in all formats. 

Ray of Hope

David Miller is an exciting talent. Aged only 24 he displayed the kind of temperament and poise under pressure that cannot be taught or coached. This inbuilt and innate ability allowed him to bat unperturbed by the pressure something other senior players failed to do. Shot of the day was his flat six off Steven Finn over long off. To have the nerve to walk down the pitch in that situation and dismissively dispatch the third best bowler in the world into the stands hints of genius at work.  

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Rana Malook is a sports writer for HITC follow his tweets @rararana

images: © nic_r, © Greg Smith