THE Castle Lager Proteas made a disappointing exit from the ICC Champions Trophy Tournament on Wednesday when England outplayed them by seven wickets with almost 13 overs to spare in their semi-final encounter at The Oval in London.
The Proteas were never in the game after collapsing to 80/8 after being put into bat and, in spite of a South African record ODI ninth-wicket partnership of 95 between David Miller (56 not out off 51 balls) and Rory Kleinveldt (a career best 43), their final total of 175 was way short of par.
There were more than 11 overs left unbowled at the end of the Proteas innings and the only way back into the match was to bowl England out.
There was a brief period of hope when Chris Morris and Kleinveldt dismissed both the England openers in the first 11 overs but that was as far as it got as Jonathan Trott, with a run-a-ball unbeaten innings of 80, and the impressive young Joe Root added 105 for the third wicket.
By the time Root was out the match was totally out of the Proteas reach.
The toss was an important one for England to win and it was inevitable that the Proteas would lose a few wickets up front under good bowling conditions.
They nevertheless got through the first 10 overs in reasonably good shape at 45/2 after losing both opening batsmen with only four runs on the board.
But the match was decisively lost later in the innings after Jimmy Anderson had completed his excellent opening spell of 2/11 in seven overs.
The Proteas needed to re-group and build a substantial partnership but they lost the wickets of AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, Faf du Plessis and Ryan McLaren in quick succession to a series of aggressive strokes. Four wickets fell for 26 runs off 35 balls and that was basically game, set and match.
Off spinner James Tredwell picked up three wickets during that period to earn the Man of the Match award.
Apart from the ninth-wicket partnership the only other stand of note was the 41 for the third wicket between Du Plessis and Robbie Peterson who again impressed in the No. 3 batsman.
Peterson was also the pick of the South African attack.