Michael Vaughan, Andrew Flintoff and James Anderson vied for the limelight as England produced an inspired display to beat South Africa in their triangular series day-nighter on Tuesday.
England, fielding a side heavy on enthusiasm but light on top-class batting, lost the toss but little else as they outplayed Graeme Smith's side throughout at Edgbaston to win by four wickets and with a massive 11 overs to spare.
The two sides meet again at Lord's on Saturday for the final after Zimbabwe missed out.
Strike bowler Anderson laid the early claim to the man-of-the-match honors by taking four wickets, including three for one run off nine deliveries, as South Africa clawed their way to 198 for nine after slumping to 104 for seven.
The 20-year-old's performance -- he returned to remove Mark Boucher (13), Jacques Rudolph (16) and Shaun Pollock (for a three-ball duck) -- was all the more impressive in that he had been clattered for four boundaries and 19 runs by Smith off the first over of the match.
"You go for 19 in one over and end up with four for 38," Vaughan laughed afterwards.
The England captain, meanwhile, struggling to translate his test form to the one-day game, steered England home with a career-best 83 peppered with textbook shots, none better than an extra-cover drive off Jacques Kallis.
Vaughan also put on 64 at a run-a-ball with young all rounder Rikki Clarke (37 off 34 balls) before both fell on the brink of victory.
It was all rounder Flintoff, however, who cemented the England performance together and ultimately won the man-of-the-match award.
He removed Smith with his fifth delivery, took three catches as the fulcrum of an exemplary fielding display and then hammered a 36-ball half-century during a match-winning 100-run stand with Vaughan after England had collapsed to 30 for three.
It was the first of Flintoff's catches, however, to remove danger man Kallis, which probably settled the match.
"That changed the game," Vaughan confirmed.
Flintoff had removed Smith for an enterprising 39-ball 45 -- Anthony McGrath somehow catching the South African captain between his legs after spilling the ball at square leg -- before, two balls later, he provided a memorable moment.
At third slip and acting as a one-man slip cordon, he leapt right and threw out his hand, Ian Botham-style, to catch Kallis for 15 off Richard Johnson's seam bowling.
Kallis's loss could not be underestimated. He had made 314 including two centuries in his past three innings, losing his wicket just once.
"It was alright, that," Flintoff said of his catch.
The day ended with even greater disappointment for South Africa when batsman Martin van Jaarsveld and spinner Nicky Boje both headed for hospital for scans.