Chennai: South Africa succumbed to a batting collapse under pressure as England snatched a dramatic six-runvictory over title aspirants South Africa in a low-scoring
World Cup Group B thriller here on Sunday.
England defended a small total of 171 which they scored in 45.4 overs after electing to bat with fast bowler Stuart Broad taking four for 15 to help his side bounce back into the tournament after their humiliating defeat against Ireland.
Chasing 172 for a win, South Africa were on course at 124 for three in the 32nd over after openers Graeme Smith (22) and Hashim Amla (42) had given them a sound start before they slumped to 127 for seven in the 37th over on a turning track at the M A Chaidambaram Stadium.
They, in fact, lost three wickets -- that of AB de Villiers, Faf du Plessis and JP Duminy -- at the same score of 124 with fast bowler James Anderson taking two.
The South African tailenders, however, hung on for a while with Morne van Wynk and Dale Steyn sharing 33 runs in 10.4 overs for the eighth wicket.
But once van Wynk was out for 13, Broad dismissed Dale Steyn (20) and Morne Morkel (1) in the space of four balls to bundle out South Africa for 165 in 47.4 overs.
With two full points from today`s match, England bounced back to contention for a quarterfinal berth on five points from four matches while South Africa are on four points from three matches.
Defending a small total, England opened their bowling with left-arm spinner Michael Yardy and fast bowler Anderson but South Africa raced to 27 for no loss in the first five overs without much trouble.
Searching for an early wicket, Andrew Strauss introduced his best spinner Graeme Swann in the seventh over and that did put brakes on South African scoring rate with the offie getting the turn from the Chepauk pitch.
England, however, had to wait till the 15th over to get their first breakthrough as they were successful in their review of the umpire`s decision to rule South African opener and captain Graeme Smith not out.
The field umpire gave Smith not out but the television replays suggested the ball might have just kissed the batsman`s glove before wicketkeeper took the catch and the third umpire ruled him out.
Smith`s 22 came from 41 balls from which he hit just two fours. He raised 63 runs for the opening wicket with Amla.
England pressed hard for another wicket and the introduction of Broad in the 17th over paid dividends as he dismissed two key South African batsmen -- Amla and Jacques Kallis -- in his first three overs.