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England drop golden opportunity

With South Africa on the ropes England lost thier nerve and lost the game, Albie Morkel made then pay with a string of huge sixes on a day when Englands specialist players failed again.

Chasing 155 they were 28-3 after five overs, with Kevin Pietersen run out after a collison with Shaun Pollock and Paul Colingwood departing first ball.

Owais Shah hit a six and four in 36 off 31 balls but there was no match-winner.

South Africa had been 94-6 but Albie Morkel, dropped twice, hit three huge sixes in a row in a brutal 43 off 20 balls as 98 came in the final 11 overs.

England made two changes, bringing in James Anderson and Jeremy Snape for Darren Maddy and James Kirtley.

Collingwood won the toss, and decided to let South Africa work out what was a good score on a heavily cracked pitch that was used for the earlier Australia-Bangladesh match and resembled a battered back street in Tooting.

England's early tactic of rotating the seamers in one-over spells proved successful and they were in command for the first half of the innings.

Stuart Broad struck with his first ball to dismiss JP Duminy, Graeme Smith, after four fours in his 19, top-edged to fine-leg and AB de Villiers edged the first ball of a new spell from Andrew Flintoff.

Chris Schofield bowled an impressive first over but Snape had the misfortune to have Mark Boucher dropped twice in two balls.

Justin Kemp compounded the misery with a flat sweep for six as the hosts looked to accelerate, but Matt Prior claimed an impressive catch to dismiss the danger man in the 16th over, when the powerful right-hander top-edged into orbit.

Morkel launched an awesome drive over cow corner that landed on the roof, but Collingwood and Owais Shah got themselves in a tangle to allow him a reprieve as the ball looped to safety at deep mid-on with both leaving it to each other.

Morkel then launched two sixes into the adjacent brewery - measured at 106 and 102 metres, the longest of the competition - and hit three maximums in succession as 21 came off Schofield's final over.

It was Schofield himself who was guilty of the next error, tipping the ball over the ropes with a tame one-handed effort when Morkel blasted a Broad full toss down the ground.

A rattled England needed a positive start, and the wily Pollock ensured they didn't get one with an opening wicket maiden, Luke Wright driving loosely to backward point.

The key moment arrived when Pietersen, who was booed all the way to the crease, was run out by a direct hit from Makhaya Ntini at backward square-leg.

Shah wielded two sixes, Flintoff added successive fours and after 14 overs it was 93-4, as opposed to South Africa's 91-4 at the same point.

Flintoff was reprieved on nine when his flat-footed drive went straight to deep cover, only for Vernon Philander to spill the routine chance.

Shah departed to a swing and a miss but Snape was sent in ahead of six-hitting expert Dimi Mascarenhas and 54 were needed from the final 30 balls.

There were only 14 balls left by the time he finally got his chance, and after Flintoff departed in the penultimate over there were to be no miracles.

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