English cricket is not exactly known for flamboyance; the impression has always been their conservative, risk-free approach. Their cricketing history is not decorated with many instances of daring declarations or producing impossible turnarounds.
However, Andrew Strauss' batch of 2011 has been a refreshing change. So much so, they have become the crowd pullers of the tournament.
They are the ones who should be credited for giving this World Cup a super start; the England games have become must-watch, top draw entertainment. Their story ahead of the Chennai game - a tie at 338 runs apiece against India; managing to lose to Ireland after scoring 327 and keeping their nerve to cross the line against Netherlands when chasing 292.
Living up to their billing, Strauss & Co enacted another thriller at the MA Chidambaram Stadium on Sunday. At 171 all out, England were down for the count. But, there's not been a dull moment when the team from the Isles has been around and they did their reputation no harm. Showing tremendous fighting spirit, they served another potboiler to script a sensational six-run win.
And for a change, the heroes of their effort were bowlers. Stuart Broad and Co bowled their hearts out to dismiss the formidable South Africa to 165 in 47.4 overs.
"It is one of our best games ever considering that you are not given to defending 171 everyday. We have been involved in three tight games and have been doing a great advertisement for the 50 overs format," said Strauss, who could afford to look at the lighter side of things.
Broad took four wickets for 15 runs in six overs and James Anderson claimed two for 16 to wreck the SA chase. The turning point of the game was in the four-over period from the 32nd over. South Africa at that stage were cruising at 124 for three, but lost four wickets for three runs to choke at the finish.
The batting collapse once again fanned the talk of their fallibility under pressure. Skipper Graeme Smith tried his best to deflect the question:
"I wouldn't say so. We have handled ourselves well in a number of situations all around the world. We knew it would be difficult, (however) 171 was a good chase but we were not good enough today against the skills shown by the England bowlers. We have got to learn from it," said Smith.