Bowling, fielding let Proteas down
FOR what it is worth, England, by squaring the T20 series 1-1 last night, regained the world No1 ranking. But that won't mean much if they don't win the World Championship, which starts next week.
Still they can take confidence with this 28-run victory over South Africa, who will not be very happy with their bowling and fielding after putting England into bat in a match shortened to 11 overs a side.
The tone was set by Morne Morkel, whose opening over yielded 16 runs thanks in part to two wides, one of which went through the fourth-slip position for four.
Pace was to take a battering on a wicket that looked to take spin. Wayne Parnell did well to concede just five from his first over, but when he was brought back in the 10th, he had lost all shape and form.
Young Joss Buttler, who was given two free hits from no-balls, added three sixes and two fours in taking 32 off the over.
Morkel came back to claim two wickets in his last over, including that of Craig Kieswetter, top-scorer with 50 off 32 balls, but gave away 16 runs in doing so.
Off-spinner Johan Botha tried his best to rein in the scoring, taking two wickets for just 19 runs in his three overs. Robin Peterson also bowled well, getting some interesting turn, to concede just 16. It was a bit surprising though that Albie Morkel was not brought back after holding the batsmen to just five runs off his first and only over.
South Africa's normally impeccable form in the field also deserted them, although the wet outfield played its part as they slid and fumbled their way through the innings. Kieswetter and Buttler put on 48 off 14 balls and the second 50 came off just 25 deliveries.
Despite Hashim Amla's best efforts - he scored 36 off 27 balls with six fours - South Africa succumbed to spin, Graeme Swann picking up the wickets of Amla and AB de Villiers, both caught on the pull by Jonny Bairstow.
There will now be some concern about their opening partnership in the World T20, for Richard Levi was again dismissed early, bowled by Tim Bresnan for one. He has scored just nine runs from his three innings.
While South Africa were keen to take some momentum into the World T20, it was more important to give players time in the middle, so Dale Steyn and JP Duminy were rested.