|Scorecard:||England v South Africa|
|Event:||South Africa in England 2012|
England v South Africa, third Twenty20
By Andy Jalil at Edgbaston
By courtesy of NatWest
Birmingham England flew to Sri Lanka yesterday for the World Twenty20 tournament with their confidence boosted a little at the end of a mediocre cricketing summer. Their 28-run win against South Africa in the third Twenty20 match to level the series will boost their morale in attempting to defend their champions title in this form of the game. It will not be easy for them in the sub-continents conditions immediately after the English season and without the explosive batting of Kevin Pietersen who remains out of favour on disciplinary grounds.
But there will be plenty of encouragement for England after an excellent performance with the bat and the ball in their final match of the season in which young Jos Buttler, who turned 22 this week, lit up the evening with an astonishing display of slogging. Having put in to bat, after yet another rain-shortened game of eleven overs a side, England were down to 64 for three after 8.2 overs. At that point only Craig Kieswetter looked in some control.
Then Buttler unleashed an extraordinary display of power hitting which eventually saw him unbeaten with 32 from only ten balls which included three sixes in addition to a couple of fours. On his innings, the England captain, Stuart Broad said: It won us the game as going into the final overs we needed a push. It was awesome to see and a great confidence boost for the squad going to Sri Lanka. To get on the flight with a win under our belt is brilliant.
Buttlers knock transformed the England innings. From the moment he came to the crease to join his Somerset team-mate Kieswetter he took full control. The pair added 48 runs from 14 balls and Butler had 31 of those while his partner hit 15. Butler took 32 runs in one eight-ball over from left-arm seamer Wayne Parnel with all his sixes coming in that one over which proved to be the second-most expensive in the short history of Twenty20 internationals.
Kieswetter, who was judged Englands man of the series, was bowled by Morne Morkel in the final over, the next ball after completing his third Twenty20 half century from just 31 balls with three sixes and three fours. He was aggressive from the start picking up two leg side boundaries to begin with before he embarked on the sixes, lifting them over long off. At his dismissal England had four balls remaining during which one more wicket fell before the innings wound up on 118 for 5.
The target seemed a tall order for South Africa who lost Richard Levi in the second over, bowled by Tim Bresnan for 1 and Faf du Plessis fell in the fourth over to the left-arm spin of Danny Briggs who was making his England Twenty20 debut.. Graeme Swann took the first of his two wickets when he had AB de Villiers caught at deep midwicket reducing the tourists to 51 for three in 6.1 overs.
Up to that point only Hashim Amla was causing England some concern. But five balls after de Villiers wicket had fallen Amla was held off the bowling of Swann for 36 from 27 balls with six fours and top scoring for his side as he has done throughout the tour. His innings took his aggregate to 900 runs for the summer as he showed once again that he was the biggest obstacle that England faced in the South Africa team in all three forms of the game.
After Amlas dismissal there was little else to come, with Albie Morkel unbeaten on 17 and Jacques Kallis 8 not out the innings ended on 90 for five giving England some joy as the curtain came down on the season of international cricket.
(Article: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author only.
Copyright © 2012 Andy Jalil)