England v South Africa, 2nd NatWest T20I, Old Trafford September 10, 2012

Game abandoned five balls short of a result


Match abandoned South Africa 77 for 5 in 9 overs (Amla 47*, Finn 2-17) v England 29 for 2 in 4.1 overs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

The wettest of English summers has struck again. The second Twenty20 international at Old Trafford was an exercise in futility as rain, which had reduced the contest to nine overs per side, returned five balls before a result would have been achieved.

South Africa were favourites at that stage, however difficult that is to call in such a small game, with England needing 13 off five balls to win on Duckworth/Lewis after Luke Wright had been caught at deep square-leg the ball before the heavens opened again. It had been a faltering chase of 78 with the top three struggling to score off Morne Morkel and Dale Steyn.

Kieswetter had tried to swing at Morkel from the first ball, a difficult task at the best of times, and only found fresh air with his first four attempts. His innings was ended by a wonderful catch by Robin Peterson running backwards from mid-on and diving full length. It was almost the equal of Dan Christian's stunner in Dubai a few days ago.

South Africa's innings had also included a screaming catch when Graeme Swann back-peddled off his own bowling and stuck out his right hand to remove JP Duminy. However, England dropped another and it was inevitably Hashim Amla who, once again, finished as top-scorer with 47 off 30 balls meaning he has achieved career-bests in all three formats on this tour. Amla had been recalled in place of Faf du Plessis for this match and adapted to the shorter-than-short format.

Apart from Amla, it was a helter-skelter innings from South Africa, which began with Richard Levi gloving the first ball down the leg side against Steven Finn about two-and-a-half hours after he had been ready to start the game before the rain fell.

AB de Villiers also fell to Finn, top-edging a pull to mid-on where Jade Dernbach juggled the catch before holding on falling backwards, but after the three overs of Powerplay South Africa had made good use of them to have 32 on the board. Interestingly, though, with an eye on future cricket at this ground, notably the Ashes Test next year, the pitch had regained some of its old pace and bounce with Finn and Stuart Broad - whose speeds have increased after his break - zipping the ball through.

Out of the Powerplay, Swann produced a tight over which only conceded five singles, spearing his deliveries full at the batsmen to ensure they could only work them down the ground. This was followed by Wright's first over which only went for four and included the wicket of Albie Morkel who skewed a catch to cover.

On the whole England's bowlers did well with only Broad proving really expensive as his second over - the penultimate of the innings -cost 18 and included a no-ball. Such lapses cannot be afforded in the World Twenty20.

Also with thoughts moving towards the World T20, England made a significant decision when Ravi Bopara's awful form finally cost him place and led to Wright's inclusion. It was about the only call England could make after his horror run of 34 runs from the eight innings he has played since returning from personal problems after the first Test.

Whether he now has a chance recapture any semblance of touch before the World T20 is a major doubt and England look like entering the tournament carrying one of their 15-man squad. England have one more match against South Africa, at Edgbaston on Wednesday, and a couple of warm-up matches, against Australia and Pakistan, in Sri Lanka before the tournament proper but Andy Flower and Broad may already have made up their minds. The only way a player can be replaced in a squad is through injury or illness.

Wright, for his part, deserved his chance after a productive season for Sussex in both limited-overs formats. This was officially his first England match since June 2011 when he faced Sri Lanka in a T20 match at Bristol. Since then he has travelled the world playing franchise T20, making a name for himself in the Big Bash League especially where he scored a 44-ball hundred, and returned to Sussex a more rounded cricketer.

Wright's recall was the only change for England, who resisted tinkering further despite the heavy defeat at Chester-le-Street, with Danny Briggs, Michael Lumb and Tim Bresnan still waiting for their turn. Bresnan's elbow, which he had surgery on at the end of the last year, has been causing further concern in recent weeks and he had scans before the T20 series started but took a full part in the warm-ups.

The match was played at an Old Trafford where the redevelopments are seriously taking shape. The new players and media building was used for the first time today and initial impressions were excellent. Further work will have been done by the time the Ashes Test arrives next year, including finishing the famous pavilion, and everyone will have their fingers crossed for better weather.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Meety on September 11, 2012, 23:43 GMT

    @Garp on (September 11 2012, 13:36 PM GMT) - pace is not everything, although for variety sake, I think they need an express pacer in the set up somewhere. Apart from playing a very good Safa line up, the main problem I think England faced, 1) A terrible itinery - where they were playing Oz in ODIs, whilst the Saffas were preparing for Tests, 2) The weather had slowed the pitches up a bit which dulled their effectiveness MORE than the Saffas. So I would NOT be writing England off on the back of ONE series, bearing in mind the whitewash v Pakistan, the bowlers were admirable in defeat!

  • Garp on September 11, 2012, 13:36 GMT

    There are so many things wrong with the England setup at this point it is destined to fall back down into obscurity. First off as long as players are getting selected based on their personal status with the ECB and selectors. Then there is the fact that not one England bowler is a true fast bowler, they all seem to only be able to hit the mid 80's which as I've said for a few years now is not and does not bother the best batsmen when in form, in fact it is more like target practice. Then the fact that no England batsmen shows any sort of consistency, form, or confidence and easily let bowlers dictate proceedings. I find it cynical for Broad and Swann to be at the heart of this KP nonsense to the point of even instigating the situation yet there both being selected with0out hesitation and on top of it neither one of them has provided any useful contribution to the England cause all summer.

  • dummy4fb on September 11, 2012, 12:35 GMT

    the game was too short to be meaningful in my opinion....it is good tht it was abandoned.

  • jonnybtestmatch on September 11, 2012, 12:34 GMT

    Hashim Amla is the best batsman in world cricket and the best bat i have seen SA produce. (1999- present). He has not yet proved he has the longevity of Kallis but he certainly possess more talent with the bat alone. Amla is so destructive and yet he bats with such grace. He can adapt to play any format, plays spin and pace equally well and has the temperament to play match winning knocks. All summer he has been the thorn in England's side that has prevented them from ever getting a stranglehold over SA. Before the summer began most England fans were worried about ABD. He has faded into the background of the batting colossus that is Hashim Amla. Well played Hashim now please score runs against some other sides too, it will make me feel better about this dismal summer.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on September 11, 2012, 12:24 GMT

    @jmcilhinney (post on September 11 2012, 10:38 AM GMT): yeah my comment about yorkers was not just a knee-jerk one based on a measly 2 overs from this game. Unless you've got the pace and accuracy of Morne Morkel / Steyn (which I'm sorry to say Broad has neither...) that short-pitched rubbish will not work against Amla & co. and it's all I've ever seen the likes of Broad trying throughout the past few series. Even Botha looked more threatening than Broad when he speared in his fuller balls! I want to see more Dernbach-like variations + yorkers from England's not-so-fast-bowlers when there's no swing/seam around and it really baffles me why they simply don't when in the past this has been key to their success.

  • tommytucker on September 11, 2012, 12:18 GMT

    Lucky England 5 more balls and SA win on Duckworth/Lewis.

  • Selassie-I on September 11, 2012, 11:47 GMT

    If again we held on to our catches, especially Amla. Taking nothing away from him, he's class, but how many times have we dropped him now? He must've scored about 700 runs by now after being dropped in the tour. The results could have been very different had we held on to him. All in all SA are the better team I would say, but we're more even int he short formats. Not entirely sure what all the Aussies are gloating about... look at you recent records my friends and get ready for another ashes pounding.

  • Rajesh_india_1990 on September 11, 2012, 11:33 GMT

    @freddieforprimeminister giving Six sixes In an over is a very very poor pathetic bowling...this poor guy dont know to keep the ball inside the boundary for the entire over....somewhat i accept him as a bowler in T20 but captain of the team is totally a mess....

  • Meety on September 11, 2012, 10:56 GMT

    @ian45 on (September 11 2012, 06:14 AM GMT) - I like to think I do give credit where it's due. BTW - I don't support either team, so I have no axe to grind. What I was saying was that apart from the fact that is ridiculous to decide a match based on 5 overs, it is also ridiculous to think that 13 off 5 balls means that the Saffas would win!

  • dummy4fb on September 11, 2012, 10:46 GMT

    Lol @freddyforprimeminister, don't try and make fun of others' comments when you don't even know who is playing. (2 Morkels)

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