England produced a winning surge in the nick of time to resuscitate their World Cup campaign against South Africa yesterday.
Captain Andrew Strauss needed no reminding, after his team had defended a below-par total of 171 all out to scramble a much-needed six-run success, that relief as much as satisfaction was the order of the day at the MA Chidambaram Stadium.
Only painstaking half-centuries from man-of-the-match Ravi Bopara (60) and Jonathan Trott (52) gave England a worthwhile total on an awkward pitch.
They still appeared set for defeat, against Group B’s previously unbeaten early front-runners - who put on 63 for the first wicket and reached 124 for three.
But England dug in with some tigerish fielding and overdue expert bowling to exploit the conditions as their opponents lost seven wickets for 41 and Stuart Broad finished with four for 15.
Instead, therefore, of contemplating a week of anxiety in Chittagong before Friday’s match against Bangladesh, England can once again consider themselves favourites to progress to the quarter-finals - despite that shock defeat against Ireland four days ago.
n Yuvraj Singh guided India to a five-wicket victory over Ireland in Bangalore. Yuvraj scored 50 off 75 balls to back up his best World Cup bowling figures of five for 31, as India overhauled the giant killers’ target of 207 for victory in 46 overs.