Somerset duo inspire England
Proteas fall short in run chase after Buttler's late onslaught
By Rob Lancaster - Tweet me: @SkySportsLanny. Last Updated: September 13, 2012 1:51pm
England levelled the Twenty20 series against South Africa with a 28-run victory in a rain-shortened third and final match at Edgbaston.
After a deluge 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 was in the runs again for South Africa but the tourists never got on top of the required rate, finishing well short on 90-5.
"England needed that win, even though it was just an 11-over thrash. They needed that win to give everyone a bit of confidence."
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The victory, one that means the trophy is shared after Monday's washout at Old Trafford, is a timely boost for England before they head out to Sri Lanka on Thursday to defend their ICC World Twenty20 crown.
They opted to make changes to their line-up for the final match of their summer schedule, 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 that warmed the spirits of those bravely watching in the stands.
The young right-hander had so far struggled to replicate his county form on the international scene but took his chance on Wednesday with a late cameo that showed exactly what he's all about.
If Wayne Parnell didn't know beforehand what Buttler could do then he certainly does now - the left-armer was launched for two huge straight sixes before twice being the victim of the Somerset man's trademark 'scoop', all during a penultimate over that cost 32 runs.
Although Morne Morkel did take two late wickets - including bowling Kieswetter - his two overs still went for 28, five of them wides when he sent a delivery so far down leg it didn't even land on the cut strip.
England, in contrast, were much more disciplined with the ball. Briggs was handed the tough task of opening the innings and the spinner didn't let anyone down, including dismissing Faf du Plessis for eight.
Bresnan also marked his return to the XI with fine figures of 2-14, showing the strength in depth that the reigning Twenty20 champions have at their disposal.
Amla top-scored with 36 but once he slotted a quicker ball - the 1,231st he'd faced during the tour - from Graeme Swann (2-24) down the throat of Jonny Bairstow at deep mid-wicket, the Proteas' chances of clinching the series had disappeared.