England levelled the Twenty20 series with South Africa with a 28-run victory in a rain-shortened third and final match at Edgbaston today.
After heavy rain delayed the start by nearly two hours, meaning it became an 11 overs-a-side contest, the hosts managed to make a highly-competitive 118-5, thanks mainly to their two Somerset stars.
Craig Kieswetter blasted an even 50 from just 32 balls at the top of the order only to be outshone by his county colleague, Jos Buttler, who needed just 10 deliveries for his unbeaten 32. Hashim Amla again was in the runs for South Africa with 36 but the tourists never got on top of the required run-rate, eventually finishing on 90-5.
The victory is a timely boost for England before they head out to Sri Lanka tomorrow to start the defence of their ICC World Twenty20 crown.
They opted to make changes to their line-up for the final match of their summer, Michael Lumb and Tim Bresnan being recalled while there was a debut in the shortest form of the game for Danny Briggs.
Lumb, selected in place of Nottinghamshire team-mate Alex Hales, made just five at the top of the order before England were somewhat strangled by spin.
Johan Botha dismissed the dangerous duo of Luke Wright and Eoin Morgan for single-figure scores, both batsmen miscuing attempts to go aerial against the off-spinner.
Yet their dismissals simply set the stage for Buttler to come out and serve up a treat for the hearty crowd who had braved the cold and wet conditions.
The young right-hander had so far struggled to replicate his county form on the international scene but took his chance to display a late cameo that showed exactly what he’s all about.
If Wayne Parnell didn’t know beforehand then he certainly does now – the left-armer was launched for two huge straight sixes before twice being the victim of the trademark Buttler ‘scoop’ during a penultimate over that cost the small matter of 32 runs. (Sky)