England v South Africa, 3rd NatWest T20I, Edgbaston September 12, 2012

Somerset pair fire as England level series


England 118 for 5 (Kieswetter 50, Buttler 32*, Botha 2-19) beat South Africa 90 for 5 (Amla 36, Bresnan 2-14) by 28 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

England will head to Sri Lanka to defend their World Twenty20 title in decent spirits after levelling the series against South Africa with a comprehensive 28-run victory at Edgbaston on the back of an explosive display from Jos Buttler and a marginally more controlled half-century from Craig Kieswetter after the match had been reduced to 11 overs a side.

It was unfortunately fitting that the final international of the season was badly impacted by rain which meant the game did not start until after 8pm, but on a chilly autumn evening the Birmingham crowd were at least given something to enjoy. Leading the way were the Somerset pair of Kieswetter and Buttler who added 48 off just 14 balls to give the innings a late kick.

Buttler was responsible for the second most expensive over in Twenty20 internationals when he took Wayne Parnell for 32, although it was an eight-ball over with Parnell twice over-stepping. Buttler cut loose for the first time in his Twenty20 international career with a powerful display where he straight drove two sixes, scooped two trademark fours - a shot that caused him problems against Pakistan in the UAE - and then clobbered a short ball over midwicket.

That launched England to a demanding 118 for 5 and despite Hashim Amla top-scoring again South Africa did not threaten to come close against impressive bowling and, largely, safe catching although Michael Lumb did spill a simple chance at deep cover in the final over.

If there can be such a thing as an anchor in an 11-over innings Kieswetter was it. He reached his fifty off 31 balls with a flat six over midwicket off Morne Morkel in the last over before being bowled by the next delivery. He hit two other sixes, straight down the ground, to remind everyone what the England selectors see in him. It was his third fifty in T20Is.

Kieswetter had started with Lumb, playing his first Twenty20 since June 2011, as the opening pair from the previous World T20 were reunited. The first over was a manic affair which cost 16 from Morkel, including a massive five wides down the leg side that would not have hit an adjacent pitch, and two sweetly struck boundaries from Kieswetter.

Lumb, though, last just four balls before losing his middle stump against Parnell and while Kieswetter managed to keep the scoreboard moving his partners were less successful. Luke Wright made 6 off 10 balls before skewing an outside edge to point while Eoin Morgan could not find his timing and picked out long-on.

Both of those wickets went to Johan Botha, who bowled three excellent overs for 19, as the offspinner again proved difficult to score off. However, his last ball was driven for a straight six by Kieswetter which was a sign of things to come in the final two overs of the innings.

At the toss Stuart Broad had said he was using this match to try out a few things before Sri Lanka and he gave the first over of South Africa's reply to Danny Briggs on his international T20 debut. It produced mixed results as Amla struck two boundaries but he was also beaten as Briggs found some turn.

Tim Bresnan, playing his first match of the series, ended Richard Levi's lean series when the opener swung across the line and when Briggs was brought back for a second over he had Faf du Plessis caught at extra cover off a leading edge.

Amla continued to caress the ball as he has done all tour, but Graeme Swann ended the match as a contest by having AB de Villiers and Amla caught in the deep by Jonny Bairstow. Although the asking rate was by now well out of reach Jade Dernbach again showed excellent skill when his first over, the eighth of the innings, cost just two runs. Now Sri Lanka beckons.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • keith on September 15, 2012, 20:52 GMT

    You're clutching at straws there, Soso! Five balls from victory? Well yes, five balls away from a result c/o DL. I was just gutted that the match didn't finish to its full (11 over!) conclusion. It could have been a good finish though I suspect you were in with a better chance than us. If that's bad luck, so be it, better to get it out of the way now than in the WC! I think you've got to be one of the favourites there.

  • Soso on September 14, 2012, 20:24 GMT

    @Rahul lol, its annoying isn't it, South Africa was 5 balls away from victory in the 2nd t20, then rain came. When they were in trouble in the 3rd it did not rain. This is the sort of luck that has always eluded South Africa, especialy in World Cups. I dont see us winning a tournament any time soon, in any sport you need that lil bit of luck not just skill.

  • Ajay on September 14, 2012, 16:52 GMT

    @yorkshire-86 100% agree with you.

  • Stuart on September 14, 2012, 11:27 GMT

    Yes, this certainly was a gripping series, with SA taking the test series, but only managing to draw the one day and T20 competitions. You have to sympathise with those spectators who turned up only to have a match washed out - if it wasn't for a certain washed out ODI against the Ozzies, England could have gone top in all 3 formats of the game.. As it is, we are yet again indebted to a few ex-South Africans for helping us to beat the South Africans...! Kieswetter for example in the last T20, scoring a half century. I wonder if SA wanted to play against KP or just relieved that he didn't play in the latter half of the series..? Only they will know...

  • John on September 13, 2012, 20:25 GMT

    @Chris_P on (September 13 2012, 14:55 PM GMT) I never even expect a peck on the cheek these days from anyone worthwhile so I'd be happy with that. Seriously , I'm not sure what the situations are for refunds on washed out games - does anyone know? Even suppose full refunds are given (and I doubt they would fully refund the fans) , I would have to travel 100s of miles to watch a game , not to mention accommodation etc so for me if I was a paying fan I'd definitely prefer to see an 11 over game than nothing.

  • Mark on September 13, 2012, 20:07 GMT

    @indian_diesel_loco_class_WDP4: The tern 'Grace in victory' is just words to you no?

  • Jeff on September 13, 2012, 19:32 GMT

    Predicting England's results over the last few years has been easy. England take to the field Bopara-Infected = England lose. England take to the field Bopara-Free = England win.

  • Sharon on September 13, 2012, 19:21 GMT

    @Haleos on (September 13 2012, 13:40 PM GMT) Funny India comedy boy... If there is highly overrated team it is India. India = Thrashed in T20 in England, thrashed by England in T20 in India, thrashed by Bangladesh in Asia Cup, thrashed in ODI by Australia and Sri Lanka, Thrashed in ODI in England, thrashed in ODI in Zimbabwe twice. Thrashed in India by New Zealand. Thrashed 4-0 (whitewashed) in Test in England AND in Australia! A word to describe India -? thrashed. India chat cannot cover inadequacy of their team. @Haleos - come to England v SA forum with trash talk and you will remeinded of reality for India. All these are fact which you can check on cricinfo this not boasting.

  • keith on September 13, 2012, 18:37 GMT

    England are the reigning T20 champions so they must be pretty good. Are they gonna win it again? I doubt it, but they have a chance. Are they as good as SA in Tests? No, we've been out-played and most Eng supporters will admit that. OK we dropped chances, but that's our problem. When it came down to it we weren't good enough. I have no problem, admitting that. But the anti-Englishness on this site seems to be just for the sake of it and it's getting pretty tiresome TBH.

  • Jonny on September 13, 2012, 18:00 GMT

    @ChrisP- No i agree with you mate. in fact why don't we just get rid of the T20 stuff altogether. I am still annoyed that the test series was only 3 matches, even though we still would have lost to SA. Test cricket belongs to U13 level, not international players.

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