South Africa cruise to 7-wicket consolation win vs England

Underfoot conditions may be different for the Champions Trophy but there will be lateral movement in the three tournament venues if the weather is similar so England should heed the warnings from today. Stokes subsequently hoisted both medium-pacer Andile Phehlukwayo and Morris high over deep midwicket for sixes. Another two edges followed in the over, but from there on Stokes dictated play.

It was there on Saturday that Stokes' second ODI hundred - albeit with a bit of good fortune when he was dropped from each of the first two balls he faced - set England on their way.

Ball offered the only other bright spark on a gloomy day, with his unbroken spell of 10 overs, two for 43 from the Nursery End accounting for De Kock, bowled for 34 missing one that angled in from around, and Du Plessis, flashing hard to Buttler behind the stumps.

South Africa were cruising on 95 without loss in the 15th over of their chase before Amla became Roland-Jones' first worldwide wicket and Jake Ball dismissed Quinton De Kock and Faf Du Plessis in quick succession.

Skipper Eoin Morgan came down the track to Parnell and whacked him over extra cover for four to break the shackles momentarily but he was next to go after edging behind to Quinton de Kock four balls later.

So too were paceman Liam Plunkett, as well as off-spinner Moeen Ali. De Kock didn't last for much longer, clipping Moeen Ali behind, and England were back in the driving seat.

Maharaj endured three of the dropped catches off his bowling, Stokes badly put down first by Hashim Amla at slip - the ball going straight through the fielder's legs for four - and then by De Kock next ball.

'They have had ups and downs but ultimately they have played in the fashion that we have played as a team and they have been very important to that'.

The pair added 62 in 39 balls for the sixth wicket and looked as though they had won the game when they needed seven off the final over bowled by Wood (0-48 in 10 overs).

"They didn't give us anything to hit, and if they did we managed to nick it". It fell to Duminy to strike the winning runs as South Africa grabbed a consolation win to take some momentum into the Champions Trophy.

In response, South Africa got to the target in 28.5 overs (making 156 for three).

After impressive performances in Leeds and Southampton this was a miserable effort being 20-6 before numerous expensively assembled full-house had taken their seats and it was as close to watching a highlights reel as live sport can get. We had a lot of time to speak about it as a batting unit sitting in the changing room and watching our bowlers bat which shouldn't be the case at all.

But Morgan, the England captain, felt the wicket was more to blame than the batsmen and praised South Africa's seamers - Kagiso Rabada and Wayne Parnell - for harnessing conditions expertly.

"We're very confident", he said.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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