Familiar failings from England
England repeated familiar mistakes as they switched formats and venues but again came up short against South Africa in the first NatWest Twenty20 at Emirates Durham ICG.
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As at Trent Bridge, where England posted an under-par total on the way to an ODI defeat against the same opponents three days ago, so it was here as a string of frontline batsmen fell to soft dismissals.
A vulnerable 118 for seven resulted before, in another echo of Nottingham, England's new-ball attack took three early wickets - and then an old hand, this time the returning Jacques Kallis (48no), took over in company with JP Duminy (47no) to see South Africa home with seven wickets and an over to spare.
On a slow pitch with spin available for Johan Botha and Robin Peterson, England's highest partnership was captain Stuart Broad and Graeme Swann's unbroken 33 for the eighth wicket.
Until then, early promise foundered alarmingly as Peterson and Botha shared four wickets - with minimal resistance - and England registered the third-lowest total in their Twenty20 history. Alex Hales began the innings with boundaries from the second and third balls he faced, a sweep and front-foot push past point in the first over off Peterson.
Top scorer Craig Kieswetter clubbed Lonwabo Tsotsobe for England's only six over long-on, but the first-wicket stand ended unsatisfactorily when Hales over-committed himself for a single into the leg-side off his partner's thick inside-edge and could not beat Kallis' direct hit as he tried to dive back.
Kieswetter stayed long enough to help England to 40 for one in powerplay, only to go lbw to the first ball of the next over - Botha striking immediately with a big off-break which hit the batsman just on off-stump.
Out-of-form Ravi Bopara stayed that way after AB de Villiers recalled Dale Steyn, kept a slip in and duly saw England's number three go again to a compliant outside-edge.
Botha and Peterson's spin variations soon did for two of England's biggest hopes.
Eoin Morgan was bowled by Botha, attempting a hybrid leg-side swipe, and Jos Buttler advanced to Peterson but missed one that turned.
Jonny Bairstow picked out long-on with regrettable precision, off Albie Morkel - and Samit Patel was well-caught by a diving Kallis at long-off off Peterson.
Broad and Swann therefore had to try to rescue a worthwhile total, from 85 for seven in the 16th over, after a procession of six wickets for the addition of only 45 runs.
Swann hit Peterson to deep mid-wicket, for England's first boundary in nine overs, and he and Broad at least pushed their team into three-figures.
When South Africa faltered to 29 for three after four overs, it seemed England's bowlers might somehow salvage the situation after all.
But that was a fleeting misconception.
Steven Finn bowled especially well, rewarded only with the wicket of debutant Faf du Plessis - stuck on the crease lbw.
Jade Dernbach had already had opener Richard Levi well-caught high at slip by Swann, and home hopes were truly raised when De Villiers edged the same bowler behind as he tried to force off-side runs off the back foot.
But Kallis, back after his sabbatical during the drawn 50-over series, was still standing in England's way.
He and JP Duminy duly shared an unbroken stand of 90, a record for the fourth wicket by any team against England in this sprint format.
South Africa did not quite complete the task with the conspicuous ease they had in the midlands. But once again, England's faulty batting had given them the freedom to play without risk.
Broad and Swann, in particular, bowled economically. But wickets were the required currency to make a game of it - and despite Finn's early recall, they never came.