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

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