Right, I hope you've started mainlining coffee. The players are out and we're about to crack on in fast-fast forward. Steven Finn with the first ball...

8.40pm: "South Africa should open with AB and Levi," says Murray. "No point in playing Amla or Kallis in a 9-over game with guys like Duminy, Morkel and Ontong in the team." Looks like Levi and Amla will open, as previously advertised.

8.30pm: The players are out on the pitch, which doesn't look too bad after a couple of hours of watering. Here's Gonzo: "Will England's batting line-up make it to 9 overs? It's longer than it seems." Well, South Africa are batting first, so the first question is whether the rain lets them make it to nine overs ...

8.20pm: Some news - the covers have been removed and we are now looking at nine overs per side, starting at 8.45pm. WARNING: This may not actually happen.

7.50pm: "From the weather report it looks like it was a very important toss to win ... because, besides the toss, there is not much more to win tonight." It may be as close as England get to levelling the series, Avi.

Pictures from the ground do not look good, currently. The cut-off time is 9.10pm.

7.40pm: Here's a thing - Stephen Holt, one of the founder members of Inspiral Carpets, left to form a band called The Rainkings. On which subject, Gnasher says "it's shedding down" at Old Trafford.

7.30pm: "Sorry to bother you (if I am) but I want to ask about that prediction game which was there for the last T20 world cup, is there any chance of a return of that 'Prediction' game? it must have performed better than Ravi so why not?" You're welcome to bother me, Amraiz, but unfortunately I can't be forthcoming in return ... the prediction game would have been before my time and, as far as I know, fantasy league is all we're doing for World Twenty20.

7.20pm: Can you guess what I'm going to type? Perhaps you can fill in the gaps: R-blank-blank-N. Yep, the weather is at it again. Not even the presence of Inspiral Carpets can chase the clouds away.

7.15pm: The covers have been whipped off again and we have a very precise restart time of 7.26pm with 18 overs a side. Meanwhile, if it's some actual cricket you're after, you could worse than Pakistan v Australia in the third T20I in Dubai - though be quick, because it's all going Pakistan-shaped, they're 23 for 5.

7.10pm: I said earlier that I couldn't vouch for the "great prizes" on offer for players of our fantasy game ... but then I scrolled down the page to see pictures of various shiny Apple products. So, hipsters, you know what to do. (Sign up. It's free. They're doing it in Hoxton.)

7.05 and 30 seconds: It's raining again.

7.05pm: The rain has done its worst and the super soppers have raised their game in turn - we're set for a 7.15pm re-start, with no overs lost, barring further showers.

6.55pm: Gnasher reports from Old Trafford that there's activity from the groundstaff and the covers are being cautiously removed. Stand by.

In the meantime, here's Nick, who loves a 'proper batsman' and has been in touch with some, ahem, Jos stick: "I don't understand why England continue with Jos Buttler in T20... He's a great 50-over player, but if you look at his stats in T20, it's quite bad: only three 50s in 53 innings played with an average of 22... This English T20 team is full of talents (batsmen-wise) like Hales, Kieswetter, Morgan, Bairstow, but they're short of a great player like Cook or Bell - someone who can stay between the wickets for long. Someone to count on... Why didn't these 2 join the T20 squad?"

6.40pm: The full plastic wrapping is out on the square now, with the rainfall fairly steady. Could be a length delay here.

6.30pm: In fact, so heavy is the rain that the umpires have decided to stop things before they've even got started. On comes the hover cover and off trudge the players. It should be noted that the forecast is not good.

6.25pm: The pitch, which was used earlier today for England and West Indies' women's T20I, looked hard and quick, though Old Trafford has spun a lot this year. If Saturday was a reliable guide, it won't have to turn much for the tweakers to cause England bother.

Anyway, that's for later, though Peter Finch thinks Stuart Broad should have sent his batsmen in again, maybe as punishment: "Wrong decision to bowl. England need practice at batting first." Well, given that there is still rain in the air, Peter, I think that would have been more foolhardy than brave.

6.20pm: So, Ravi has run out of chances - about the only thing that's run for him recently. Luke Wright has had a terrific season, so this is a big opportunity for him ahead of the World Twenty20...

...speaking of which, we're running a fantasy game for the tournament in Sri Lanka. Go unleash your inner geek in order to win prizes*.

*I'm told they're great but I don't what they are, so don't hold me to it. I'm only certain that it's free.

6.10pm: England have won the toss and will bowl, and it looks like we're still going to get a 6.30pm start. England have brought in Luke Wright for the out-of-form Ravi Bopara, while Morne Morkel and Hashim Amla take the places of Faf du Plessis and Lonwabo Tsotsobe in the South Africa XI.

England 1 Craig Kieswetter (wk), 2 Alex Hales, 3 Luke Wright, 4 Eoin Morgan, 5 Jonny Bairstow, 6 Jos Buttler, 7 Samit Patel, 8 Graeme Swann, 9 Stuart Broad (capt), 10 Steven Finn, 11 Jade Dernbach

South Africa 1 Richard Levi, 2 Hashim Amla, 3 Jacques Kallis, 4 AB de Villiers (capt & wk), 5 JP Duminy, 6 Justin Ontong, 7 Albie Morkel, 8 Johan Botha, 9 Robin Peterson, 10 Dale Steyn, 11 Morne Morkel

6.05pm: Do you want the good news or the bad news? The toss has been delayed, due to a spit-spot of rain in the air - there could also be worse to come. However, the sun is trying to peek out above Manchester and the covers, which were on a few minutes ago, are now being removed.

6pm: Good evening and welcome to the pop gun show. That's what England apparently packed for the first T20, where a batting line-up lacking both gunpowder and reason seemingly lost the plot. South Africa, by contrast, rolled out their heavy cannonade, lead by veteran field sergeant Jacques Kallis. I'm Alan Gardner and I'll be describing the opening salvoes, with Alex Winter joining me on commentary. Andrew McGlashan is our man at the ground and he has previewed the contest; we'll bring you news of the toss shortly ...

0.1

Finn to Levi, OUT, gone, caught behind down the leg side! A sensational start for England, the power hitter Richard Levi gloves through, trying to flick a back-of-a-length loosener to leg

RE Levi c †Kieswetter b Finn 0 (2m 1b 0x4 0x6) SR: 0.00

A change in the order now, with AB de Villiers at No. 3

0.2

Finn to de Villiers, 1 run, full and around the line of off, gets half forward and inside-edges a drive to backward square leg

0.3

Finn to Amla, FOUR, short and wide and steered through gully, this races away off the slick surface and third man will not get round to stop that

0.4

Finn to Amla, 4 leg byes, strays down the leg side, flicks the pad on its way and that's enough to take it past the diving Kieswetter to long leg

0.5

Finn to Amla, 1 leg bye, short ball, on the body, Amla tries to paddle round the corner, is hit on the thigh pad and it loops to square leg

0.6

Finn to de Villiers, no run, fast and straight, touch back of a length, de Villiers heaves across the line and misses completely - valuable dot ball

End of over 1 (10 runs) South Africa 10/1 (RR: 10.00)
AB de Villiers    1* (2b)      ST Finn    1-0-5-1
HM Amla    4* (3b 1x4)     

It will be Stuart Broad from the other end. Four bowlers can bowl two overs, in this shortened game

1.1

Broad to Amla, no run, length ball, tight to off stump, punched on the front foot to cover

1.2

Broad to Amla, FOUR, pitched up outside off, Amla steps back and cream-crackers an airy drive through backward point for four

1.3

Broad to Amla, no run, dug in short, bouncer at the batsman and it does him for pace, Amla misses trying to hook

1.4

Broad to Amla, 3 runs, length ball, Amla steps out of his crease and opens his shoulders, scoops over extra-cover but it's well pulled in by the boundary rope

1.5

Broad to de Villiers, 1 leg bye, length ball outside off, de Villiers hops across and gets down on one knee, trying to scoop to long leg ... is hit on the pad and it spoons to short third man

1.6

Broad to Amla, 2 runs, bounced again, Amla top-edges a hook over the keeper but Bairstow was fine at third man and prevents four

End of over 2 (10 runs) South Africa 20/1 (RR: 10.00)
HM Amla    13* (8b 2x4)      SCJ Broad    1-0-9-0
AB de Villiers    1* (3b)      ST Finn    1-0-5-1

Finn to bowl out ...

2.1

Finn to de Villiers, OUT, length ball, slogged back over mid-on ... but Dernbach gets underneath it and ABdV is out! De Villiers stood and delivered but didn't quite get enough on it, Dernbach back-pedalled, patted the ball up at the first attempt and then plucked it at the second, before falling on his backside

AB de Villiers c Dernbach b Finn 1 (9m 4b 0x4 0x6) SR: 25.00

Albie Morkel is also up the order but the batsmen has crossed

2.2

Finn to Amla, FOUR, length delivery and slapped in the air through the cover region again, Amla is just in unstoppable form, Buttler makes the ground but slips trying to pull it in and the ball squirts for four

yorker, outside off, jammed down to third man ... but Finn had hit the non-striker's stumps and it is immediately called dead ball

2.3

Finn to Amla, no run, length ball, slightly wider on the crease and it fizzes through over the top of the stumps as Amla swishes at it

2.4

Finn to Amla, FOUR, short and at the stumps, Amla gets right across and shovels off his hip for four down to long leg, again the ball races away

2.5

Finn to Amla, no run, another good response from Finn, wide of off, very fast and Amla windmills his wrists through a big yahoo that fails to connect

2.6

Finn to Amla, FOUR, gets plenty of bat on this one, similar length ball outside off, slugged over backward point for four more

Amla has 25 from 32 and, at the end of the Powerplay, South Africa are going at ten an over

End of over 3 (12 runs) South Africa 32/2 (RR: 10.66)
HM Amla    25* (13b 5x4)      ST Finn    2-0-17-2
JA Morkel    0* (0b)      SCJ Broad    1-0-9-0

With the fielding restrictions off, Graeme Swann comes on for a twirl

3.1

Swann to JA Morkel, 1 run, round the wicket, length ball on off stump to Morkel, driven to long-off

3.2

Swann to Amla, 1 run, over the wicket to Amla, flighted outside off, pushed to the cover sweeper

3.3

Swann to JA Morkel, 1 run, pushed through a bit quicker on off stump, goes back and cuts in front of point

3.4

Swann to Amla, 1 run, fires this in full, quicker still as Amla advances, digs one out to long-on

3.5

Swann to JA Morkel, 1 run, full and flat, at the stumps, steps away and drives back at the bowler, Swann gets a hand on it but it deflects to mid-off and they get one

3.6

Swann to Amla, no run, tossed up and smashed back, this time Swann snaffles it - dot ball and a very good over for England

End of over 4 (5 runs) South Africa 37/2 (RR: 9.25)
HM Amla    27* (16b 5x4)      GP Swann    1-0-5-0
JA Morkel    3* (3b)      ST Finn    2-0-17-2

Luke Wright comes on for Finn

4.1

Wright to JA Morkel, no run, digs it in, short but a touch slower than Morkel would be expecting and he misses playing across the line

4.2

Wright to JA Morkel, OUT, chipped to extra-cover, it's a dolly for Bairstow and Morkel goes! This was a regulation length ball, up to full speed and it came high off the bat, height but no distance and another dangerous hitter goes cheaply

JA Morkel c Bairstow b Wright 3 (9m 5b 0x4 0x6) SR: 60.00

Again no Kallis, JP Duminy in at No. 5

4.3

Wright to Amla, 1 run, length ball on the stumps, worked towards midwicket for one

4.4

Wright to Duminy, no run, full and straight, clipped off his front pad but straight to midwicket - dot

4.5

Wright to Duminy, 2 runs, down the leg side, fullish and flicked fine, they'll get a couple

4.6

Wright to Duminy, 1 run, pitched up on leg stump once again, closes the face and picks out deep square leg

Tight over from Wright. I doubt even Ravi and his golden arm could have bettered that ... South Africa just losing a bit of momentum as we go past halfway

End of over 5 (4 runs) South Africa 41/3 (RR: 8.20)
JP Duminy    3* (3b)      LJ Wright    1-0-4-1
HM Amla    28* (17b 5x4)      GP Swann    1-0-5-0

5.1

Swann to Duminy, 1 run, round the wicket, tossed up, bit more air, pushed through the covers

5.2

Swann to Amla, 3 runs, opens the face and guides past short third man, Patel trundles after it and makes a superb diving effort inches from the rope to prevent four

5.3

Swann to Duminy, 1 run, tossed up and Duminy slog-sweeps, hard and low, straight to the man on the boundary for one

5.4

Swann to Amla, 1 run, dropped, Amla again! Slapped straight up into the air and Morgan shells a simple chance at mid-on

5.5

Swann to Duminy, OUT, slogged high into the night sky again, this time Swann calols for it and this is a fantastic catch, one-handed over his head to get rid of Duminy!

JP Duminy c & b Swann 5 (6m 6b 0x4 0x6) SR: 83.33

Justin Ontong is the new man. What a superb take from Swann, though England might just have preferred to get Amla. How many times is it now?

5.6

Swann to Amla, no run, low full toss outside off, bunged straight to cover on the full

End of over 6 (6 runs) South Africa 47/4 (RR: 7.83)
HM Amla    32* (20b 5x4)      GP Swann    2-0-11-1
JL Ontong    0* (0b)      LJ Wright    1-0-4-1

Kallis is sitting on the players balcony looking a little peeved. Let's see what Ontong can do, Jade Dernbach to bowl

6.1

Dernbach to Ontong, 1 run, short and wide of the stumps, cut to point via a bottom edge, there's a slip fielding and they get a single

6.2

Dernbach to Amla, 1 run, slow legcutter, well directed and Amla flips through the leg side for just one

6.3

Dernbach to Ontong, OUT, scooped to short fine leg, and scooped up by Kieswetter! He nearly collided with Alex Hales, who was also in contention to take it - must not have heard the call. Think it was another slower ball from Dernbach and Ontong had to wait on it, miscuing as he tried to get the ball over the infield

JL Ontong c †Kieswetter b Dernbach 1 (2m 2b 0x4 0x6) SR: 50.00

6.4

Dernbach to Amla, no run, good bowling from Dernbach, length ball nipping away off the pitch and the batsman plays and misses

6.5

Dernbach to Amla, 1 run, full and straight, bunged straight at midwicket but they'll get through for one

Kallis, eventually out at No. 7, to face his first ball

6.6

Dernbach to Kallis, no run, full and outside the line of off, misses trying to nail a drive through cover

End of over 7 (3 runs) South Africa 50/5 (RR: 7.14)
JH Kallis    0* (1b)      JW Dernbach    1-0-3-1
HM Amla    34* (23b 5x4)      GP Swann    2-0-11-1

Two overs to go and England have a grip on this. Can Amla loosen it? Broad back on

7.1

Broad to Amla, FOUR, shuffles across, Broad tries to go full and even wider and Amla smears a square drive through backward point for four

7.2

Broad to Amla, no run, back of a length, at the man, miscues a pull shot and the ball drops short of Broad

7.3

Broad to Amla, FOUR, more wristy delight from Amla, goes back and across, steers the ball fine, beating third man - Amla has almost 75% of South Africa's runs at the moment

7.4

Broad to Amla, (no ball) 1 run, pitched up and driven to long-off - but Broad has overstepped

Free hit to South Africa, then

7.4

Broad to Kallis, 2 runs, slower ball, on middle and off, steps away and drives through extra-cover for a couple

7.5

Broad to Kallis, FOUR, back of a length outside off and Kallis heaves across the line, gets a big top edge and that's four more to third man

7.6

Broad to Kallis, 2 runs, another golf swing from Kallis, big outside edge towards regulation third man, Dernbach is slow to react and doesn't get to the catch, ends up blocking it with his legs

End of over 8 (18 runs) South Africa 68/5 (RR: 8.50)
JH Kallis    8* (4b 1x4)      SCJ Broad    2-0-27-0
HM Amla    43* (27b 7x4)      JW Dernbach    1-0-3-1

Good over for SA, that one. Final six balls to come, Dernbach the bowler

8.1

Dernbach to Amla, 1 run, full length and very wide, manages to screw it through point

8.2

Dernbach to Kallis, no run, slower ball, Kallis waits on it but still misses, the ball lobbing over the stumps and through to the keeper - supremely well done from Dernbach

8.3

Dernbach to Kallis, FOUR, pitched up outside off, bludgeoned low through the covers and this beats the man on the rope

And the Manchester rain has returned, though not enough to take them off

8.4

Dernbach to Kallis, 1 run, pitched up wide of off, drilled low to extra-cover, who does well to get behind it

8.5

Dernbach to Amla, 2 runs, full length again, slower ball and chipped down the ground straight back past the bowler

8.6

Dernbach to Amla, 1 run, slower-ball bouncer, Amla can't get any power on it, pulls along the ground through square leg and that caps the innings, probably below par ... but again the rain is falling

9.30pm: Well, that was frenetic, madcap stuff. It was cricket, Jim, but not as we know it - apart from the fact that Hashim Amla was at one end flaying England's bowler around once again. That innings was his best in T20 internationals, meaning he has made his highest scores in all three formats while on this tour. Extraordinary and almost certainly unprecedented. Anyway, Alex will guide you through the run chase in ten minutes' time, as long as the weather permits.

End of over 9 (9 runs) South Africa 77/5
HM Amla    47* (30b 7x4)      JW Dernbach    2-0-12-1
JH Kallis    13* (7b 2x4)      SCJ Broad    2-0-27-0
Series Results
England v South Africa at Birmingham - Sep 12, 2012
England won by 28 runs
England v South Africa at Manchester - Sep 10, 2012
No result
England v South Africa at Chester-le-Street - Sep 8, 2012
South Africa won by 7 wickets (with 6 balls remaining)
More results »

Photos

Sep 10, 2012

Umpire Rob Bailey gives the final signal to leave the field for good, England v South Africa, 2nd NatWest T20I, Old Trafford, September 10, 2012

Umpire Rob Bailey gives the final signal to leave the field for good

© PA Photos

Sep 10, 2012

Luke Wright was playing his first international since June 2011, England v South Africa, 2nd NatWest T20I, Old Trafford, September 10, 2012

Luke Wright was playing his first international since June 2011

© PA Photos

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News and Analysis: England prepare to face South Africa without Pietersen