England won a hard-fought battle with South Africa in the first semifinal matchup at the 2013 ICC Champions Trophy at The Oval in London on Wednesday, topping the Proteas by seven wickets and earning a berth in Sunday's final.
While South Africa made it a close battle late, thanks to some hard work in the field, it was the Proteas' inability to put up a respectable amount of runs early on that ultimately did them in, via Cricket South Africa:
And it's all over. Insufficient runs on the board nailed us in the end. SA are out of the running for the #ct13. Hard luck boys.— Cricket South Africa (@OfficialCSA) June 19, 2013
ESPN Cricket Info tweeted this intriguing stat for South Africa during a disappointing performance with the bat:
Still, despite a slow start, South Africa wasn't ready to quit. The Proteas battled back as expected for a team at this stage, keeping the pressure on England in the field, via BBC Sport:
South Africa would head to the field knowing it would need to be magnificent after posting just 175 runs in 38.4 overs.
The numbers were shocking for the Proteas, as everyone expected England to surpass their mark with ease, via BBC Sport:
Excited English players wasted no time congratulating and celebrating with each other following the success in the field, via International Cricket Council:
The celebration wouldn't last long, however, as South Africa started off strong in the field itself. Not long after, Liam Cupido highlighted what it would take from Gary Kirsten's bunch in order to snag the victory:
The order was too tall for South Africa, though, as Jonathan Trott and England were able to land the runs they needed to return to the final for the first time since England last hosted the ICC One Day International tournament back in 2004, via ICC:
English spin bowler James Tredwell was the Man of the Match on Wednesday, dominating the South African batters during his time on the pitch. ODI captain Alastair Cook was quick to give praise to Tredwell as well as James Anderson, who also played a brilliant match, via ICC:
The loss is no doubt a painful one for South Africa, which has not won the ICC One Day International tournament since 1998 in Bangladesh.
ODI captain AB de Villiers made no excuses for his squad, acknowledging their early struggles after the match, via ICC:
England will have to wait for Thursday's second semifinal match between India and Sri Lanka to see which side it will play in the tournament final, but will be happy to do so.
The ICC Champions Trophy final is scheduled for Sunday, June 23 at Edgbaston Cricket Ground in Birmingham. Keep in mind that England's lone loss in the group stage this year came against Sri Lanka.
Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter.