Mumbai, Oct 21: All predictions, expectations and calculations proved futile, as in an one-sided affair, South Africa outplayed 2019 World Cup winners England by a huge 229 runs margin at Wankhede Stadium, here on Saturday.
The Africans after being shocked by the Netherlands, perhaps were determined to outsmart England on Saturday with their own brand of 'extra ordinary aggressive' brand of cricket.
They dominated Jos Butler led English team in all three departments of the game, in the 20th match of the ICC ODI World Cup 2023. After setting a huge 400-run target they limited the England innings to a paltry 170 in just 22 overs.
In 16.3 overs, England had already lost 8 wickets with 100 runs on board. None of their batters showed neither resistance nor application to withstand the South African attack.
However, the 9th wicket stand of 90 runs between Gus Atkinson and Mark Wood salvaged some pride for the English side.
Pacer Reece Topley, who hurt his index finger during fielding did not turn up for batting. Wood was the highest scorer for his side with an unbeaten 42.
For the Africans, right arm fast Gerald Coetzee topped the bowling chart with a 3/35 figure in just 4 overs. All the fiver bowlers used by stand-in skipper Adien Markram featured in the wickets column.
Apart from Coetzee's triple strikes, Lungi Ngidi (2), Marco Jansen (2), Kagiso Rabada (1) and Keshav Maharaj (1), all bowled with precision and intent. They never allowed the England batters to breathe easy.
Ben Stokes, the hero of England's several famous wins, including the 2019 ODI World Cup Final against New Zealand, had a disastrous first match in this edition. Stokes did not bowl and scored only 5. He was sent back by Rabada caught and bowled, much to England's dismay.
Earlier, asked by England to bat first, South Africa scored a massive 399/7 in 50 overs, powered by a superb willow act by danger-man Heinrich Klaasen.
The middle order batter hit a fine century considering the match situation, when he walked into bat at number five.
Till Klaasen began his superman innings, the 20th match of the ICC ODI World Cup 2023 at the Wankhede Stadium was evenly balanced. But then, it was total mayhem by African batters.
Klaasen hit a hurricane 67-ball 109 to let his side set a 400-run target for 2019 WC champions England. He scored his ton in just 54 balls.
When Klaasen finally left in final over, Africa were comfortably placed at 394/6. He hit 12 boundaries and four long 6s in his brutal innings.
When 25-year-old English right arm pacer Gus Atkinson got him bowled, Klaasen has already done the damage.
Apart from him, Reeza Hendricks (85), Rassie van der Dussen (60) and Marco Jansen (75 not out) too played useful knocks.
Earlier, put into bat, Africa's seasoned campaigner Quinton de Kock departed early after putting only 4 runs on the board.
But his new opening partner Reeza Hendricks, who got to open because of regular skipper Temba Bavuma's absence due to an injury, was impressive with his 75-ball 85-run innings. Hendricks was unlucky to miss out his ton, as leg spinner Adil Rashid got him LBW.
Man-in-form Rassie van der Dussen hit run-a-ball 60, before falling prey to Rashid. Dussen was caught by Jonny Bairstow.
Africa's skipper in-charge Adien Markram scored 42, before being claimed by Recce Topley, with Bairstow taking a superb running catch at deep square leg.
David Miller had a very brief stay at the 22 yards. He was caught by Ben Stokes and Topley deservingly claimed his third victim in the match.
Apart from Topley's triple, Atkinson and Rashid got two wickets each.
Earlier, England made three changes in the playing XI that lost to Afghanistan in their last match. As expected, Ben Stokes was back while David Willey and Gus Atkinson came in for Chris Woakes and Sam Curran.
South Africa 399/7 in 50 overs; England 170 all out in 22 overs.
South Africa won by 229 runs.
Player of the Match: Heinrich Klaasen.