ICC Champions Trophy 2013 – 1st Semi-Final: England v South Africa, 19 June

Amla memories make Cook sweat | PunterPolls Prediction

South Africa at The Oval, with Hashim Amla in the line up: it's a thought to make even Alastair Cook sweat. Go back further and the ground played host to a one-sided thrashing during the 1999 World Cup, the defeat so damaging in terms of net run rate that it went a long way to seeing England knocked out of the competition they were hosting.

But England have won their last two encounters in global 50-over tournaments - in Centurion and Chennai - and will take comfort from South Africa's return to The Oval for an ODI last summer. Amla made 268 runs fewer than the 311 he amassed in the first Test, and was removed by no less a bowler than Jade Dernbach, before Jonathan Trott's patient half-century was followed a brisker one from Eoin Morgan in a four-wicket win. Sounds like a good formula, doesn't it? That the series finished 2-2 suggests these teams are reasonably well matched.

Both have experienced a few malfunctions in progressing to the knockout stage. England, one-time hot favourites, have cooled like a custard left in the kitchen, their much-documented penchant for platform-building lampooned in various quarters. Wear and tear to Graeme Swann - though James Tredwell has proven an able deputy - and the bowlers' inability to defend 293 against Sri Lanka mean they have long been usurped by India as frontrunners.

AB de Villiers, meanwhile, has had to contend with injuries to his two strike bowlers, Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel - the latter tournament-ending - plus familiar jiggery pokery with Duckworth-Lewis (though this time it came to South Africa's aid). A sole group win over a hapless Pakistan is not the sort of form to fill opponents with dread, nor is a record in 50-over knockout competition that boasts just one appearance in a final, 15 years ago. At least they can take comfort in the knowledge that this match is unlikely to go the way of their 1992 World Cup semi-final against England.

At last year's World Twenty20, de Villiers was able to utter the word "choke" and not be immediately carted off. On this occasion, however, it is perhaps England who are more likely to be dragged down by an albatross around their necks. They have never won an ICC 50-over event and this may still be their best chance. Cook's men can't afford any more mistakes.

PunterPolls Prediction

This Champions Trophy turning out to be one of the boring tournament we have ever seen in the recent times. Most of the good matches been effected by rain and Punters are hardly interested in games like that.

Lets get back to today's game, 1st semi final of the tournament where chokers South Africans will take on boasted England. "Boasted" because they used to talk a lot and when it comes to perform they performed like minnows at their home ground. Our experts are expecting another minnows shows today as they are supporting South African in today's game.

One of the biggest reason for supporting South Africans their batting line-up. Though their bowlers got hard time against the West Indians in later in the game but overall they are rated high as compare to English bowlers.

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ICC Champions Trophy 2013 - 1st Semi-Final: England v South Africa, 19 June

  • South Africa (58% Votes)
  • England (42% Votes)

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