South Africa 119-3 (Kallis 48no) beat
England 118-7 (Botha 2-19) by 7 wickets
First Twenty20 International, Chester-le-Street
The opening Twenty20 International between England and South Africa followed a similar pattern to that which the final One-Day International had on Wednesday. England posted a much below par total after batting first; took three early wickets to provide false hope; and then watched as South Africa plodded home with time and wickets to spare.
The day had begun brightly for England. They would have been pleased and bewildered at South Africa’s decision to leave out Hashim Amla and then watched as Alex Hales and Craig Kieswetter played fluently during their all-too-brief opening partnership of 27 inside four overs. Hales was then run-out by Jacques Kallis after completing two halves of a run and being sent back by Kieswetter; and the wheels fell off.
Kieswetter himself was next to go, trapped in front by Johan Botha’s first delivery, as England’s middle-order fell victim to its old foe of spin bowling. Ravi Bopara’s torment continued as he managed not to fall to a spinner, wafting at a delivery from Dale Steyn, while Eoin Morgan, Jos Buttler and Samit Patel all fell either to the off-spin of Botha (two for 19) or the slow left-arm spin of Robin Peterson (two for 27).
Captain Stuart Broad and Graeme Swann ensured that England’s total would pass three-figures with a spirited unbroken eighth-wicket stand of 33 as both ended on 18 not out to take England to 118 for seven.
Jade Dernbach and Steven Finn struck three times between them with the new ball. Richard Levi nicked Dernbach to slip; Faf du Plessis marked his T20I debut by being trapped plumb lbw by Finn; while AB de Villiers feathered a catch to Kieswetter shortly afterwards to make it 29 for three.
However, while Jacques Kallis remained at the crease, South Africa were in little real danger. He found a willing accomplice in the form of JP Duminy and the pair milked England’s slower bowlers – Graeme Swann, Samit Patel and Ravi Bopara – with the ease that England hadn’t managed in their innings and with the assurance that chasing a substandard total brings. They added an unbroken 90 for the fourth-wicket and guided the Proteas home with an over to spare. Duminy ended with 47 off 54 balls and Kallis on 48 off 44.
The second match in the three-match series is on Monday at Old Trafford, where spin is again expected to play a key role.
© Cricket World 2012