Thrilling knocks from Craig Kieswetter and Jos Buttler saw England end the summer on a high note, squaring the NatWest Twenty20 Series against South Africa with a 28-run victory at Edgbaston.
The familiar sight of rain reduced the match to an 11-over thrash, a format that suited the Somerset pair down to the ground as Kieswetter made 50 in 32 balls and Buttler blazed 32 not out in just 10 deliveries.
The fourth-wicket duo added 48 in 11 minutes to lead the hosts to 118 for five, Buttler launching a brutal attack on Wayne Parnell that saw him concede 32 in an over - the second costliest over in international T20 history. As so often in recent times, Hashim Amla was South Africa's lynchpin, top-scoring with 36 in an ill-fated reply that ended at 90 for five.
With plentiful runs on the board, England's Twenty20 debutant Danny Briggs was handed the first over of the South Africa innings. Amla took the 21-year-old spinner for two boundaries but was also beaten twice on the outside edge.
Out-of-form opener Richard Levi did not detain England long, castled by Tim Bresnan for a single, but as so often Amla looked to be the danger man. Faf du Plessis fell for eight after Briggs found the leading edge with his left-arm spin and Eoin Morgan took a simple catch at the edge of the ring.
Amla struck Stuart Broad for his sixth boundary to bring up the Proteas' 50 and his lone hand continued when AB de Villiers steered Graeme Swann straight down Jonny Bairstow's throat at deep-midwicket. With the required-rate climbing sharply Amla finally succumbed in almost identical fashion to de Villiers.
Jade Dernbach showed off his variations as his first over cost a meagre two and when Justin Ontong miscued Bresnan to point the game was all but over. England's innings was built almost exclusively around the efforts of Kieswetter and Buttler. But the first major contributor to England's total was Morne Morkel.
He sent down a wild first over that included four comical wides down leg side, a waist-high full toss and back-to-back boundaries from Kieswetter. Michael Lumb managed one fluent drive off Parnell before losing his middle stump to the left-armer. Kieswetter found the ropes for the third time when he smashed Johan Botha back over his head in the fifth over.
Botha's second over cost only two and he picked up the scalps of Luke Wright and Morgan for single figures. Jacques Kallis' introduction saw Kieswetter smear his third delivery for six over long-on as England reached 74 with two overs remaining. After just one sighter Buttler crashed Parnell for a steepling six over long-off and then immediately repeated the stroke.
Parnell was spooked and sent down successive no-balls, Buttler producing a pair of impudent paddled fours off the resulting free-hits. Buttler's third maximum of the over, this time pulled flat over mid-wicket completed Parnell's misery. Kieswetter pulled a third six to bring up his half-century in the final over but Morne Morkel bowled both him and Bairstow.
- Craig Kieswetter
- Jos Buttler
- Hashim Amla
- Wayne Parnell