Morkel sixes and wickets get South Africa home

Published: Monday, September 17, 2007, 9:55 [IST]
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Albie Morkel hit three massive sixes off successive balls and then took two wickets as South Africa beat England by 19 runs in a World Twenty20 Super Eights match at Newlands.

Morkel's lower order hitting enabled South Africa to score 154 for eight after a stuttering top order performance. He followed up by dismissing England's top scorers, Matt Prior and Owais Shah, as England were restricted to 135 for seven.

A key turning point, though, was the dismissal of Kevin Pietersen and Paul Collingwood, England's key batsmen, in the space of three balls.

Pietersen was run out by a direct hit from Makhaya Ntini at backward square leg after he collided with bowler Shaun Pollock as he raced to the bowler's end.

Pietersen lost his balance and his bat went flying but he was only centimetres short of making his ground. Pietersen fell heavily on his left elbow.

"Sometimes you think commonsense would prevail and maybe the third umpire would give him not out," said England captain Collingwood. "Whether Pollock meant it or not he got in his way. He (Pietersen) would have made it easily. But he was not in his crease. It was just unfortunate."

South African captain Graeme Smith said he had not considered calling Pietersen back.

"If I felt Shaun did it on purpose I would have called KP back but he (Pollock) was trying to get back to the stumps. It's a big pitch out there and Kevin ran straight at him in the middle of the wicket. It was a very fair dismissal."

Two balls later Collingwood was caught at slip off Pollock off the first ball he faced.

Prior (32) and Shah (36) put on 55 off 47 balls for the fourth wicket before Morkel had Prior caught at backward point before bowling Shah in his next over.

Morkel's big hitting transformed South Africa's innings. They had struggled after being sent in and were on 112 for five when leg-spinner Chris Schofield came on to bowl the 18th over.

In an over which cost 21 runs, Morkel hit his first two sixes over midwicket and out of the ground onto a railway line which runs close to the perimeter fence. Television technology estimated one of the hits to have traveled 106m - the biggest hit of the tournament so far. The other went 102m.

Morkel's third six was hit straighter to wide midwicket off a full toss. The left-hander made 43 off 19 balls with four sixes and three fours before being caught off the last ball of the innings.

Stuart Broad claimed two early wickets as South Africa slipped to 42 for three. Until Morkel's assault South Africa were unable to get on top as England captain Paul Collingwood made a bewildering 15 bowling changes in the space of 20 overs.

But England fielded poorly, dropping or missing six catching chances. "The fielding wasn't up to scratch," said Collingwood. "We could have bowled South Africa out for 130."

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