England stumbled to its first defeat on the tour of South Africa when they were beaten by four wickets by South Africa A in a Twenty20 match today.
England, captained by Paul Collingwood, was put in to bat and only three of its batsmen reached double figures as they were bowled out for 89 in 17.3 overs. South Africa A's innings lasted just as long as it reached 90-6, to convincingly end the tourists' unbeaten run of two games.
England did not look to be in too much danger on 71-3 in the 13th over, but it then proceeded to lose six wickets in 23 balls for the addition of only 14 runs.
The collapse started when Eion Morgan became man-of-the-match Thandi Tshabalala's second wicket. Morgan scored 11 off 18 balls, and six balls later top-scorer Alastair Cook hit offspinner and captain Justin Ontong straight to Rilee Rossouw at mid-on. Cook batted 30 balls for his 22, which included one four.
Sharp fielding by the home side then ran out Matt Prior (1), Luke Wright (2) and Tim Bresnan (4) in the space of 11 balls.
South Africa A was well served by offspinners Tshabalala, who claimed 2-16, and Ontong, who finished with 2-9.
Seamer CJ de Villiers dismissed opener Joe Denly and No. 3 batsman Jonathan Trott, both for 7, to finish with 2-19.
England handed the new ball to spinner Graeme Swann and the tactic paid dividends when he dismissed opener Heino Kuhn for 4.
Rossouw contributed a useful 23 off 25 balls to a second-wicket partnership of 42 with Loots Bosman, who scored a subdued 18 off 34 balls. Rossouw hit three fours and Bosman two in the stand which set up victory for the South Africans.
When Rossouw, Bosman and Ontong, who scored 6 off 12 balls, were out in quick succession, South Africa A slipped to 61-4, but a brisk 23 off 12 balls from attacking left-hander Vaughn van Jaarsveld took his side to the brink of victory. Van Jaarsveld's boundary count was one four and two sixes.
Spin paid off for England, too, with offspinner Swann claiming 2-9 and legspinner Adil Rashid taking 2-22.
But the defeat will not have been what England was hoping for with the first of two Twenty20 internationals against South Africa scheduled for Johannesburg on Friday.