South Africa show the way
England failed in their bid to chase down 155 for victory against South Africa in their first match of the ICC World Twenty20 Super Eight stage, as the hosts’ seam attack kept their bowling tight and took wickets at regular intervals.
An explosive start to the South Africa innings, courtesy of captain Graeme Smith, and an onslaught from Albie Morkel late on kept up the pressure on England as they stuttered with the bat and eventually fell short by 19 runs.
After winning the toss and electing to field first, England mixed up their bowling options in the opening overs, with James Anderson - recalled to the side in place of James Kirtley - proving the most economic of all the bowlers.
The one-over spells seemed to work well for England until a flurry of runs from the lower-order made sure South Africa posted a competitive total of 154 for eight.
They started well in response with the ball, having Luke Wright caught at cover off Shaun Pollock for a duck to just the fourth ball of the innings.
That brought Kevin Pietersen to the crease, to a chorus of boos, as he saw out a maiden over from the veteran all-rounder.
But batsman and bowler collided four overs later as Pietersen attempted to make his ground after a quick single, dropped his bat and was run out as he failed to throw himself over the line in time, dropping to the floor in obvious pain.
Pollock got his second wicket, and the second dismissal in the over, when captain Paul Collingwood was caught by Justin Kemp at slip to only his first ball.
Matt Prior and Owais Shah put together a useful partnership after those early losses, but Prior was caught in the deep by Vernon Philander just as they were beginning to get going. However, the same fielder dropped Andrew Flintoff in the 15th over with the momentum firmly with England.
Yet Morkel was determined not to let his batting efforts go to waste when he bowled Shah two balls later to swing the match back in South Africa's favour.
This was underlined when Jeremy Snape was sent in above Dimitri Mascarenhas and failed to get bat on ball as the run-rate climbed before he eventually hit the ball straight to mid-off with 42 still needed from 14 balls.
Flintoff struck 17 off 16 balls but was bowled by Johan van der Wath after moving across the wicket and exposing his stumps as England’s hopes of victory rescinded.
Earlier, Stuart Broad had been preferred to Flintoff as Anderson's opening partner and the decision paid dividends when his first delivery left Jean-Paul Duminy and took a fine edge through to Prior.
However, Flintoff was brought into the attack in the third over and Anderson was recalled for the fourth with Broad brought into the attack once more to bowl the fifth.
He again struck with his first ball when he had Smith throwing his bat at a short delivery which he skied to Mascarenhas at fine leg. Flintoff then had immediate success when he had AB de Villiers caught by wicket-keeper Prior.
Chris Schofield had the batsmen in a tangle as they struggled to cope with his leg-spin - just two runs, including a wide, coming off his first over.
Snape was introduced at the other end, to have his first bowl of the tournament, and was unlucky not to take his first wicket when Anderson dropped Mark Boucher on the boundary, and Wright felled the same batsman at midwicket to the next ball.
But it was Schofield who finally got their man when he tempted him to hit the ball across the line and back over his head, for Pietersen to take the catch at long on.
Pollock was also guilty of over-confidence when he went for a big shot to his first delivery and skied the ball into the air, as Prior completed the catch to give Anderson his first wicket.
South Africa's sixth wicket fell to Mascarenhas as Prior took hold of another skier, this time from Kemp, but Morkel hit a huge straight six to bring up the team 100 in the following over.
Morkel was lucky to be reprieved when Collingwood and Shah converged on a ball from Schofield with neither catching it. He then proceeded to hit the unlucky leg-spinner for three consecutive sixes to finish off his previously excellent spell with an over costing 21 runs.
Philander could only watch in wonder from the other end but was cleaned up by Broad at the start of the following over.
However, Morkel was not finished there as a plethora of boundaries and quick running saw him take death bowlers Broad and Flintoff apart, ending on 43 off 20 balls as he fell to the last delivery of the innings to a great catch by Snape.