| Eoin Morgan in a belligerent mood at SuperSport Park in Centurion on Sunday. (AFP) |
Centurion: Owais Shah narrowly missed his second one-day International century Sunday, but his 98 off 89 balls saw England race to 323 for eight against South Africa in their Champions Trophy encounter.
Chasing 324, South Africa were 165/3 after 30 overs. Graeme Smith (80) and JP Duminy (10) were at the crease
Except their 328 against a supine West Indies at Edgbaston in May, it was Englands highest ODI total since December 2005, and the second highest by any side in Champions Trophy history.
With one shock victory to their name already in this tournament, Englands confidence was plain to see throughout a performance in which their only moment of discomfort came when both openers, Joe Denly and Andrew Strauss, fell in the space of 14 balls to squander a flying start against some wayward new-ball offerings from Dale Steyn and Wayne Parnell.
During the recent 6-1 drubbing against Australia, England had lacked the will or the ability to regroup in such situations, but since relocating to the Southern Hemisphere, they have been an outfit rejuvenated.
Not even the pre-match loss of the wicketkeeper, Matt Prior, could upset England's equilibrium.
He was ruled out with illness shortly before the toss, with Morgan set to deputise behind the stumps, and whereas a similar scenario in the fourth Ashes Test at Headingley had been the prelude to an England meltdown, on this occasion, Strauss took the upheaval in his stride.
He duly won his eighth toss in his last nine ODIs, and drove his second legitimate delivery, from Steyn, down the ground for four to signal England's collective intent.
Shah was specially destructive against South Africas spinners, sharing a speedy third-wicket partnership of 163 with Paul Collingwood, which took just 26 overs and one ball.
Shah hit five fours and six sixes as South Africas bowlers battled to find a line and length which would contain him, and he was especially severe on full pitched straight bowling, often flicking the ball into the stands on the leg side.
Collingwood made 82 off 94 balls to continue his good run in the tournament, and the pair were only separated when Shah was caught by wicket-keeper Mark Boucher off off-spinner Johan Botha.
Collingwood went five overs later, dragging on a wide ball from Wayne Parnell on to his stumps. But the departure was the signal for Eoin Morgan to cut loose, and he raced to the fastest half-century of the tournament when he reached his 50 off 26 balls. He was eventually caught by South Africa captain Graeme Smith off the bowling of Dale Steyn for 67 off 34 balls, which included four fours and five sixes.
Parnell remained the highest wicket-taker in the tournament so far, finishing with three, but at the cost of 60 runs in his 10 overs. Botha took two for 56 in his nine overs.