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England beat New Zealand by five wickets to win ODI series

England clinch ODI series win as Finn blows away Black Caps in Auckland

By
David Clough, Press Association

PUBLISHED:

07:59 GMT, 23 February 2013

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UPDATED:

08:06 GMT, 23 February 2013

England cashed in on a fine performance with the ball and in the field to coast to victory at Eden Park and wrap up the one-day international series 2-1 against New Zealand.

Steven Finn was the driving force as the tourists bowled their hosts out for 185, and today's decider turned into a mis-match.

Even Brendon McCullum's third successive half-century was unable to rescue a defendable total for New Zealand, albeit on a pitch which had offered plenty early on to well directed seam bowling after Alastair Cook had won the toss.

Finn when you're winning: The England fast bowler (left) picked up three wickets

Finn when you're winning: The England fast bowler (left) picked up three wickets

England's two premier exponents, Finn and James Anderson, soon reduced the hosts to a hapless 11 for three.

McCullum (79) refused to let England have it all their own way with six
fours and five sixes but, without significant support, could not turn
the tide on his own.

It seemed a foregone conclusion that England would make light work of their target.

In the event they were not flattered by a five-wicket margin, and it was
more instructive that they also had 12.3 overs to spare.

More to follow…

Swann dive: England spinner Graeme Swann swoops to catch James Franklin out

Swann dive: England spinner Graeme Swann swoops to catch James Franklin out

World Twenty20 2012: England out after defeat to Sri Lanka

Reigning champions England crash out of World Twenty20 after defeat to Sri Lanka

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UPDATED:

17:49 GMT, 1 October 2012

England came up short in defence of their ICC World Twenty20 title following the 19-run defeat to hosts Sri Lanka, and must head home before the semi-finals.

Stuart Broad's team spluttered to 18 for three, against Lasith Malinga – and despite a maiden Twenty20 international half-century from Samit Patel, could not sustain a telling recovery in pursuit of 169 for six at Pallekele.

Sri Lanka hit seven sixes in all, and it was clear England faced no easy task to win their last Super Eight match – as they had to if they were to qualify on net run rate ahead of West Indies.

Game over: Sri Lanka celebrate their comprehensive victory over T20 holders England

Game over: Sri Lanka celebrate their comprehensive victory over T20 holders England

Sri Lanka v England

Click here for full scorecard

In the event, their attempt was
undermined from the outset as Malinga took three wickets in his first
over on his way to a career-best five for 31 in this format.

That was not quite the knockout blow,
England twice briefly threatening to put themselves back in contention.
But in the end – even with a late hand from Graeme Swann to help narrow
the margin – Patel (67) was left with too much to do on his own.

No Sri Lanka batsman had been able to
single-handedly dominate, after being put in under lights, Broad (three
for 32) faring best of the England bowlers.

But each kept hitting big shots – and
once Malinga got to work, it all proved far too much for the 2010
champions who had rarely convinced in a stuttering group campaign.

Steven Finn and Jade Dernbach used the
new ball well for them, until the latter dropped short in his second
over – and was hooked, by Mahela Jayawardene, and upper-cut, by
Tillekeratne Dilshan, for sixes.

Dernbach had already had Dilshan
dropped head-high at slip by Swann. But it was not a costly miss,
because Finn soon had the opener lbw bang in front.

Flummoxed: England were once again undone by spin as they surrendered their crown in Pallekele

Flummoxed: England were once again undone by spin as they surrendered their crown in Pallekele

Flummoxed: England were once again undone by spin as they surrendered their crown in Pallekele

Jayawardene played and missed at some
early drives but then batted serenely, as he almost always does, to help
his team to 74 for one at the halfway mark.

The 11th over, however, brought an advantageous trade-off for England – eight runs off Swann, and two wickets.

Swann had Jayawardene well-held by
Eoin Morgan, diving in at deep midwicket, and then Kumar Sangakkara
controversially caught-behind next ball.

Sangakkara appeared perplexed to be
given out by Steve Davis, and replays did not obviously demonstrate any
contact with the bat – but Jonny Bairstow, keeping wicket in place of
the dropped Craig Kieswetter, did not mind about that.

Sri Lanka had to start again, with two men in on nought.

But Jeevan Mendis immediately swept
and then slog-swept Swann for boundaries, and at the other end Angelo
Mathews climbed into two off-drives for boundaries off Broad.

After the fourth-wicket pair shared a
half-century stand in five overs, Broad returned to become the second
England bowler to put himself on a hat-trick.

Broad appeal: The England captain took three wickets as Sri Lanka posted a total of 169

Broad appeal: The England captain took three wickets as Sri Lanka posted a total of 169

Broad appeal: The England captain took three wickets as Sri Lanka posted a total of 169

He had Mendis mis-pulling to midwicket, and then Mathews edging on to his stumps as he tried the same shot.

Once more, two new batsmen were in on
nought. But again, they flourished – Thisara Perera especially with some
muscular hitting to give the hosts the edge at the interval.

That narrow advantage was soon much broader when Malinga, held back until the third over, made an instant and terminal impact.

Luke Wright cut him hard but straight
to point, where Dilshan took the catch; Bairstow, promoted to number
three, lasted only two balls before falling for a change of pace and
getting underneath one to mid-off, and Alex Hales was perhaps a little
unfortunate to be given out lbw.

Patel breathed some life into
England's reply nonetheless, energising a 55-run stand with Morgan as he
took particular toll of Ajantha Mendis with a string of off-side
boundaries.

Man of the moment: Malinga was the star with the ball as England came up well short of the hosts' total

Man of the moment: Malinga was the star with the ball as England came up well short of the hosts' total

Man of the moment: Malinga was the star with the ball as England came up well short of the hosts' total

But Morgan was to fall lbw, trying to
reverse-sweep Akila Dananjaya, and then Ravi Bopara – recalled here as
the extra batsman in place of Kieswetter – confirmed he is still out of
form when no match for Jeevan Mendis' leg-spin variations.

Patel carried on regardless to and beyond an impressive 37-ball 50, containing seven fours and a six.

But no significant support was
forthcoming until Swann helped him plunder 51 from just 28 balls to keep
England in with the slimmest of chances until almost the end.

Malinga returned, however, to bowl Patel off-stump as he made room in the penultimate over.

An inexperienced England line-up
therefore exited, with hints of their potential if nothing more
tangible, from a tournament which perhaps came too soon for several
talented but still developing cricketers.

World Twenty 20: Luke Wright and Steve Finn help England beat New Zealand

All Wright on the night as mighty Finn keeps England's World T20 title defence alive

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UPDATED:

13:37 GMT, 29 September 2012

Luke Wright and Steven Finn starred in a much-improved all-round performance as England beat New Zealand by six wickets to put the defence of their ICC World Twenty20 crown back on track.

After Wright's runs and Finn's wickets at Pallekele, Stuart Broad's team are likely to need another success against hosts Sri Lanka when they return on Monday if they are to book a trip back to Colombo for the semi-finals.

Finn took three for 16 and then Wright (76) engineered a well-drilled chase – achieved with seven balls to spare – meaning England have at least given themselves a second chance after their defeat against West Indies at this same venue two days ago.

Big hitter: Luke Wright's innings was the backbone of England's successful run-chase

Big hitter: Luke Wright's innings was the backbone of England's successful run-chase

England v New Zealand

Click here for a match scorecard

Finn perhaps completed the hardest and most telling half of the equation, as only James Franklin (50) cut any ice for the Kiwis.

But Wright made sure, with a 33-ball 50 containing three fours and three sixes.

Finn took two with the new ball, including danger man Brendon McCullum, and then returned in the 17th over to see off another of the Kiwis' best hitters Ross Taylor.

New Zealand won the toss but were soon minus opener Martin Guptill, lbw to a swinging yorker from Finn.

Attacking intent: Eoin Morgan hit 30 off 38 balls

Attacking intent: Eoin Morgan hit 30 off 38 balls

England's strike bowler then picked
up the prize wicket of McCullum, making room to hit him over the ring to
the short off-side boundary but succeeding only in edging down to
Wright at third-man.

Graeme Swann, operating in his
accustomed post-powerplay role, immediately had Rob Nicol mistiming a
slog-sweep into the hands of deep midwicket.

/09/29/article-2210387-15433EF2000005DC-461_634x336.jpg” width=”634″ height=”336″ alt=”That's out: Craig Kieswetter's disappointing tournament continued with four off 14 balls” class=”blkBorder” />

That's out: Craig Kieswetter's disappointing tournament continued with four off 14 balls

They remained conservative until
Franklin took 16 runs, including a big hit over midwicket for New
Zealand's first six, from Briggs' final over.

With five to go, the total was therefore 96 for four – with Taylor and Franklin established.

Finn did for the former, who clumped a
pull straight to deep midwicket, and in the same over his aggravating
party piece of knocking over the stumps in delivery denied Franklin a
perfectly-struck and well-deserved four past mid-off – umpire Asad Rauf
signalling dead-ball.

Franklin stayed the course, though,
for his 33-ball half-century as he and Nathan McCullum did enough in the
final three overs to narrow England's advantage.

It was tighter still after Craig
Kieswetter went for just four from 14 balls at the start of the reply,
bowled when he missed a sweep at Daniel Vettori.

Memorable day: Steve Finn (left) recorded his best T20 figures of three for 16

Memorable day: Steve Finn (left) recorded his best T20 figures of three for 16

Alex Hales had taken 16 off Tim
Southee's first over but then went on the charge to McCullum and missed
an off-break, which hit leg-stump.

Wright was joined by Morgan, and the third-wicket pair barely put a foot wrong in a stand of 89 in 10 overs.

They were unfazed by the task in hand, and took the time available to them to build up the required momentum.

On a pitch favouring spin, they
allowed New Zealand's frontline slow bowlers to concede only 42 runs in
eight overs – but made sure they took toll of pace.

On the offensive: James Franklin added some impetus to New Zealand's innings, scoring 50 off 33 balls

On the offensive: James Franklin added some impetus to New Zealand's innings, scoring 50 off 33 balls

The run rate never spiralled thanks
to fine placement, by Morgan in particular in his near run-a-ball 30,
and at least one successful big shot in each over.

Wright drove especially well – and
when the hapless Southee returned for his second attempt, England's
number three hit him for one six to bring up the hundred and a second
high over wide long-on to pass his own 50.

Morgan eventually fell – very
well-caught by a diving Doug Bracewell off Kyle Mills at long-on – and
Wright followed him, holing out to cover in the penultimate over.

But there was no longer any doubt
about an outcome which ensures England will defend their only
International Cricket Council title to date with at least a degree of
honour.

World Twenty20 2012: Umar Gul blasts Pakistan to victory over South Africa

Gul blasts Pakistan to victory over South Africa in low-scoring encounter

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UPDATED:

14:02 GMT, 28 September 2012

Umar Akmal and Umar Gul led a superb fightback as Pakistan snatched a two-wicket victory against South Africa in a thrilling opening Group 2 match of the World Twenty20 Super Eights.

Despite chasing a modest 134 for victory, Pakistan looked destined for defeat as they slumped to 76 for seven in the 15th over, needing 58 runs off the final 30 balls.

However, Akmal and Gul joined forces to turn the game on its head in an eighth-wicket partnership worth 49 in just 4.3 overs.

Gul force: Umar Gul smashed three sixes in his 32

Gul force: Umar Gul smashed three sixes in his 32

Gul force: Umar Gul smashed three sixes in his 32
SCORECARD

Click here for the full scorecard from Colombo

Man of the match Gul provided much of the
momentum as he smashed three sixes and two fours in a 17-ball 32 before
falling to the final ball of the penultimate over.

That left Pakistan needing nine off the last over and Akmal clubbed a
Morne Morkel full toss for six off the second ball before Saeed Ajmal
sealed the victory with a guided four off the fourth.

Akmal finished unbeaten on 43 off 41 deliveries, having also struck four other boundaries to go with that maximum.

The triumph leaves Pakistan at the top of Group 2 ahead of Friday afternoon's match between Australia and India.

Winning moment: Saeed Ajmal (left) and Umar Akmal celebrate Pakistan's win

Winning moment: Saeed Ajmal (left) and Umar Akmal celebrate Pakistan's win

Winning moment: Saeed Ajmal (left) and Umar Akmal celebrate Pakistan's win

South Africa were earlier limited to 133 for six after suffering a poor start in Colombo.

They lost Hashim Amla (six), Richard Levi (eight) and Jacques Kallis
(12) as they struggled to 28 for three after six overs, before JP Duminy
and AB de Villiers led a recovery.

Duminy put on 38 for the fourth wicket with Farhaan Behardien (18)
before adding 44 with captain De Villiers to help South Africa into
three figures before both fell in the closing overs.

The Proteas' total looked below par, and Pakistan were quickly making
in-roads into their target as captain Mohammad Hafeez and Imran Nazir
put on a rapid 24 for the first wicket.

Top scorer: JP Duminy hit 48 runs earlier in the day for the Proteas

Top scorer: JP Duminy hit 48 runs earlier in the day for the Proteas

Key man: Ajmal took the wicket of Richard Levi

Key man: Ajmal took the wicket of Richard Levi

However, South Africa hit back in emphatic fashion with three breakthroughs in seven balls.

Paceman Dale Steyn made the first, having Nazir caught behind by De
Villiers for 14, before spinner Robin Peterson struck twice in his first
over, bouncing back from being smashed for six off his opening delivery
by having Hafeez (15) and Nasir Jamshed (nought) stumped.

That was the start of a collapse that saw Pakistan in all sorts of
trouble but, just when it appeared as though South Africa were cruising
to victory, Akmal and Gul combined to dramatic effect.

England beaten by Wwst Indies in Super Eights

Gayle leads England a merry dance as Windies claim Super Eights victory

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UPDATED:

18:08 GMT, 27 September 2012

ICC World Twenty20 champions England
suffered a second successive setback as they began their Super Eight
campaign with a 15-run defeat against West Indies at Pallekele.

Eoin Morgan (71no) and Alex Hales
(68) did their best to rescue an unlikely victory, in pursuit of 179 for
five. But in the end, with 23 required off Marlon Samuels' final over,
England had left themselves with just too much to do.

West Indies' bowler Chris Gayle dances

West Indies' bowler Chris Gayle dances

Lord of the dance: Chris Gayle celebrates dismissal of England's Jonny Bairstow

Lord of the dance: Chris Gayle celebrates dismissal of England's Jos Buttler
England v West Indies

England: C Kieswetter (wkt), AD Hales, LJ Wright, EJG Morgan, JM Bairstow, JC Buttler, SR Patel, SCJ Broad (capt), GP Swann, ST Finn, JW Dernbach

West Indies: J Charles, CH Gayle, MN Samuels, DJ Bravo, KA Pollard, D Ramdin (wkt), AD Russell, DJG Sammy (capt), SP Narine, R Rampaul, S Badree

Umpires: S Davis (Aus) and A Rauf (Pak)

Third umpire: A Dar (Pak)

Match referee: J Srinath (Ind)

Click here to read the full scorecard

England wrote off their heaviest loss, and lowest total, in this sprint format against India in Colombo on Sunday as a blip.

On thursday night, there was a much better performance but more disappointment too after they fell short of a tough but achievable target with 164 for four on a decent pitch.

Johnson Charles (84) and Chris Gayle (58) both clubbed half-centuries, after West Indies won the toss; then England's reply suffered a telling initial stumble, before opener Hales and back-to-form Morgan kept them in the contest with a century stand and seven sixes between them.

England's bowlers already knew all about master blaster Gayle, but might have been a little more surprised by his opening partner Charles.

After a stand of 103, Gayle was first to go. But 23-year-old St Lucian Charles, without a century in any form of professional cricket, stayed the course to record his maiden Twenty20 international 50.

On the attacK: Gayle hits a four off England's Steven Finn

On the attacK: Gayle hits a four off England's Steven Finn

Safe hands: Finn takes a catch to dismiss West Indies' Chris Gayle

Safe hands: Finn takes a catch to dismiss West Indies' Chris Gayle

England, by contrast, began their reply
by losing two wickets for no runs in the first three balls to Ravi
Rampaul – and even though Hales responded with 50 containing five fours
and two sixes, and Morgan reached his half-century in a tournament
joint-record 25 balls, it was never going to be quite enough.

Charles had earlier hit 10 fours and three sixes, before mistiming another attempted big hit to long-on off Jade Dernbach.

Gayle predictably first signalled his intent with three fours in one over from Dernbach.

Up for it: West indies bowler Ravi Rampaul (centre) celebrates the dismisal of Craig Kieswetter

Up for it: West indies bowler Ravi Rampaul (centre) celebrates the dismisal of Craig Kieswetter

Impressive: Eoin Morgan plundered 71

Impressive: Eoin Morgan plundered 71

The powerplay yielded a near par 47, but without loss, and that proved to be a platform for the Windies openers to up the ante.

Gayle had one minor moment of fortune on 29 when a wrong-footed Morgan,
perhaps losing the ball in the bright floodlights, found himself
over-committed as the big left-hander pulled Samit Patel high to the
boundary.

The Irishman might have had a chance of holding an important catch, had
he been able to retreat to the fence, but instead saw the first of three
sixes in the over sail over his head.

Those three sixes and six fours took Gayle past 50 in only 29 balls, and the West Indies were in three figures in the 11th over.

Close call: Morgan makes his ground under pressure from Ravi Rampaul

Close call: Morgan makes his ground under pressure from Ravi Rampaul

Clean bowled: England's Alex Hales is dismissed by Marlon Samuel

Clean bowled: England's Alex Hales is dismissed by Marlon Samuel

England should have had a much-needed breakthrough when Steven Finn put down Charles on 39 off Graeme Swann at long-off.

But England would doubtless have swapped that for what happened off the
very next ball, Finn holding his nerve this time to cling on at long-on
and see the back of Gayle.

England celebrated appropriately, and soon had number three Samuels
cheaply too – caught at point by Morgan as Stuart Broad interrupted the
Windies' flow with a wicket-maiden.

Charles was still at large, but England recalled Finn early to test
Kieron Pollard with pace – a move that worked instantly, as the big
hitter skied a catch to the cover boundary from the first ball of the
over to go for just a single.

Watching brief: The England dug out

Watching brief: The England dug out

The openers apart, only Dwayne Bravo and Andre Russell managed
double-figures – and their last-over assault on Dernbach helped to
produce 15 runs, to make the Windies marginal favourites at the
interval.

Three balls after it, their position had strengthened somewhat.

Rampaul's double-wicket maiden saw Craig Kieswetter lob a short ball to
cover for a second-ball duck, and Luke Wright edge some extra bounce to
slip to put the seamer on a hat-trick.

Jonny Bairstow, promoted ahead of Morgan, survived that early crisis.

Hales escaped a 'double-play' on 31 – when he should have been stumped
off Samuel Badree, and then run out had a direct hit come in from short
fine-leg as he stole a bye.

Bairstow's innings was a particular struggle, ending when he finally hit
one well enough down the ground off Gayle but was very well-caught by
Pollard running round from long-on.

Hales and Morgan joined forces with little realistic hope of a
successful chase but had enough firepower to make the Windies sweat
right to the end.

World Twenty20 2012: Australia beat West Indies in Colombo

Watson smashes Australia to simple victory in rain-hit clash with West Indies

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UPDATED:

17:47 GMT, 22 September 2012

Australia secured their place in the Super Eight stage of the World Twenty20 with a 17-run Duckworth/Lewis victory over West Indies after rain curtailed play in Colombo.

A heavy downpour interrupted the Australians' charge towards their 193 target when they were 100 for one – 17 runs ahead of the Duckworth/Lewis par score after 9.1 overs.

All-rounder Shane Watson – man of the match in Australia's opening Group B triumph over Ireland on Wednesday – was once again in full flow, unbeaten on 41 from 24 deliveries alongside Michael Hussey (28 off 19) when the heavens opened.

I've got the power: Shane Watson hits for six at the R. Premadasa Stadium in Colombo

I've got the power: Shane Watson hits for six at the R. Premadasa Stadium in Colombo

All-round excellence: Watson, who took two wickets and hit 41 runs, bowls to Samuels

All-round excellence: Watson, who took two wickets and hit 41 runs, bowls to Samuels

The Windies earlier posted 192 for
eight from their 20 overs after captain Darren Sammy won the toss and
stuck with his team's preferred tactics in this format, opting to bat
first – their total underpinned by half-centuries from Chris Gayle and
Marlon Samuels.

Opener Gayle smashed 54 off 33 balls –
including five fours and four sixes – before a soft dismissal, caught
and bowled by Watson, while Samuels plundered three fours and four sixes
in reaching 50 off 32. He holed out to David Warner at long-on off the
bowling of veteran spinner Brad Hogg.

Paceman Mitchell Starc (three for 35)
and all-rounder Watson (two for 29) were the pick of the Australia
bowlers, the former having been passed fit after recovering from
gastroenteritis. Pat Cummins, Daniel Christian and Hogg also claimed a
wicket apiece.

Big hitter: Chris Gayle drives to the boundary during his innings of 54 against Australia

Big hitter: Chris Gayle drives to the boundary during his innings of 54 against Australia

Crash, bang, wallop: Marlon Samuels hits out on his way to a half-century for West Indies

Crash, bang, wallop: Marlon Samuels hits out on his way to a half-century for West Indies

Australia suffered an early setback in
their response when Warner – much to his displeasure – was given out
caught behind by Denesh Ramdin off Fidel Edwards with the first ball of
the third over, but not before the opener had racked up 28 from 14
balls.

However, they continued at a decent
pace as Watson and Hussey set about reducing the 9.65 required run-rate
which ultimately proved crucial.

The result left West Indies facing a
winner-takes-all clash with Ireland on Monday to determine who will join
Australia in the Super Eights.

Timber! Dwayne Smith of the West Indies is bowled by Mitchell Starc (unseen), who took thee wickets

Timber! Dwayne Smith of the West Indies is bowled by Mitchell Starc (unseen), who took thee wickets

World Twenty20 2012: Brendon McCullum blasts record century for New Zealand

McCullum blasts record T20 ton as New Zealand hammer Bangladesh

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UPDATED:

14:26 GMT, 21 September 2012

Brendon McCullum hit the highest individual score in Twenty20 Internationals as New Zealand crushed Bangladesh by 59 runs in their opening Group D match of the Twenty20 World Cup on Friday.

McCullum struck a 58-ball 123 with the help of seven sixes and 11 boundaries to power New Zealand to 191 for three wickets and was dismissed in the last ball of the innings.

All the shots: Brendon McCullum showed off his full repertoire for New Zealand in Pallekele

All the shots: Brendon McCullum showed off his full repertoire for New Zealand in Pallekele

All the shots: Brendon McCullum showed off his full repertoire for New Zealand in Pallekele

All the shots: Brendon McCullum showed off his full repertoire for New Zealand in Pallekele

He bettered the record of South African opener Richard Levi who scored an unbeaten 117 earlier this year against New Zealand at Hamilton.

Chasing 191, Bangladesh managed 132 for eight wickets with Nasir Hossain top-scoring for them with a 39-ball 50.

For New Zealand, Tim Southee (3-16) and Kyle Mills (3-33) shared six wickets.

Australia fire warning to World Twenty 20 holders England by crushing New Zealand

Australia fire warning to Twenty 20 holders England by crushing New Zealand

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UPDATED:

17:05 GMT, 15 September 2012

Australia crushed New Zealand by 56
runs as they bowled out the Black Caps for just 83 in a warm-up for the
ICC World Twenty20 in Colombo.

Australia made 139 for six with
opener Shane Watson top-scoring with 27 and then ripped through New
Zealand, reducing them to eight for three early in the third over.

Brad Hogg of Australia appeals during the T20 World Cup warm up match

Brad Hogg of Australia appeals during the T20 World Cup warm up match

Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor steadied the ship, but with Taylor's 22 the highest score of the innings, they never stood a chance of chasing down their rivals.

An unbeaten 55 from Mahendra Singh Dhoni and some superb bowling from Irfan Pathan led India to a 26-run victory over Sri Lanka.

Dhoni hit three sixes and four fours and put on 78 with Rohit Sharma before the latter was out for 37 late in the innings.

India finished on 146 for five, and Pathan then took five for 25 as Sri Lanka were bowled out for 120.

David Warner of Australia makes his ground

David Warner of Australia makes his ground

Mohammad Ashraful made 38 off 25 deliveries as Bangladesh beat Zimbabwe by five wickets.

Vusi Sibanda's 40 off 47 balls highlighted Zimbabwe's score of 134 for six, but Bangladesh chased it down with 10 deliveries to spare with the help of three late sixes from Ziaur Rahman in an unbeaten 26.

Mohammad Nabi made 51 off just 24 balls, with five sixes, as Afghanistan recorded a 51-run victory over Sri Lanka A.

Asghar Stanikzai added 50 off 39 balls and Mohammad Shahzad made 48 off 25 as Afghanistan made 209 for seven before bowling out their opponents for 158.

Buttler and Kieswetter team up to blitz South Africa as England level T20 series

Buttler and Kieswetter team up to blitz South Africa as England level T20 series

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UPDATED:

22:39 GMT, 12 September 2012

England leave for Sri Lanka on Wednesday galvanised for the defence of their World Twenty20 title by some extraordinary hitting from the gifted Jos Buttler.

The Somerset batsman has long been one of the most exciting, innovative strikers of a cricket ball in the domestic game but had yet to bring that talent to the international stage until Wednesday's final truncated game of a largely forgettable season.

England retained faith in him even though his top score in 11 limited-overs games had been 13.

Lynchpin: Craig Kieswetter hit 50

Lynchpin: Craig Kieswetter hit 50

He repaid them by blitzing South
Africa in a 28-run victory in the third and final Twenty20 international
at Edgbaston that levelled this short-form series.

Buttler smashed 32 off 10 balls,
Wayne Parnell disappearing for 32 off one over, as England racked up 118
for five in a game reduced to 11 overs a side by more Birmingham rain.

It was always going to be too many
for South Africa, who achieved their primary aim from this tour when
they defeated England 2-0 in the Test series.

There were two of Buttler's trademark
scoops for four and three sixes off Parnell, the first a huge hit which
almost reached the top deck of Edgbaston's towering new pavilion.

Destructive: Jos Buttler's unbeaten 32 came from one Wayne Parnell over

Destructive: Jos Buttler's unbeaten 32 came from one Wayne Parnell over

Better days: Wayne Parnell was hit for 32 off one over during the T20 match

Better days: Wayne Parnell was hit for 32 off one over during the T20 match

Buttler over shadowed another
Somerset man in Craig Kieswetter, who hit three sixes in a half-century
from 32 balls that also augurs well for the challenges in Sri Lanka.

The pair of them smashed 48 in partnership off just 14 bal l s , a match-winning alliance.

Kieswetter was man of the match when
England defeated Australia to lift the World Twenty20 title in Barbados
two years ago and he will again be a key man when they begin their
defence against Afghanistan in Colombo next Friday.

England were helped by a shambolic
fielding display from a South Africa side who rested Dale Steyn in the
final match of their tour.

Morne Morkel produced possibly the
widest wide ever – step aside Steve Harmison – in an opening over that
cost 16 runs while Parnell bowled two no-balls in the second most
expensive over in Twenty20 international history.

The extraordinary Hashim Amla kept
South Africa in the hunt with 36 off 24 balls, taking his tally to 900
runs from 1,231 balls faced against England this summer while striking
his 100th boundary of the tour off Stuart Broad.

Yet, once Amla became one of two
victims in the same over by Graeme Swann, both caught by Jonny Bairstow
on the mid-wicket boundary, England were on course for a victory which
enabled them to draw both limited-overs series after their Test
humbling.

There was another encouraging sign
for Sri Lanka in the Twenty20 international debut of left-arm spinner
Danny Briggs, who opened the bowling for England and took his first
wicket when Eoin Morgan caught Faf du Plessis.

I think that's out: Kieswetter was bowled out by Morne Morkel

I think that's out: Kieswetter was bowled out by Morne Morkel

Star of the show: Buttler lit Edgbaston up with his brilliant display

Star of the show: Buttler lit Edgbaston up with his brilliant display

England captain Broad said: 'We were trying to predict what Jos was going to do next and we never got it right.

'It's always good when a batsman can
hit it on to the top tier or over his head and that batting won us the
match. We're excited about the talent in this squad.'

It will enable England, weakened by
the absence of Kevin Pietersen, to travel in better heart than seemed
possible when thrashed in the first Twenty 20 international.

They will face India as well as
Afghanistan in the first stage of the tournament but will probably have
to defeat only the minnows to reach the Super Eights stage of the most
entertaining of the ICC's global limited – overs tournaments.

If they do that, as they showed in the Caribbean last time, anything can happen.

England v South Africa ODI abandoned after wash-out

Cardiff wash-out scuppers England ODI revenge bid against South Africa

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UPDATED:

15:16 GMT, 24 August 2012

England's hopes of exacting revenge against their Test conquerors South Africa were frustrated as the first match of their NatWest one-day series was washed out with less than half-an-hour's play possible in Cardiff.

Ian Bell did his best to offer the drenched supporters some entertainment, clubbing two huge sixes on his way to 26 not out from 18 balls, but England's 37 without loss from 5.3 overs was a poor return for more than five hours of watching the skies.

The sides were contesting a reduced 23-over contest when the game was finally abandoned under the heaviest rain of the day.

Foiled: Alastair Cook during a rare period of play

Foiled: Alastair Cook during a rare period of play

Play in the first one-day
international was due to begin at 10.15am and the rival captains got as
far as the toss, with AB de Villiers calling correctly and opting to
field.

The dark clouds above duly began to open and the start was delayed.

The umpires, Richard Kettleborough and
Kumar Dharmasena, were frequent visitors to the pitch for the next few
hours, inspecting conditions in the brief breaks between showers.

A handful of provisional start times –
and revised playing conditions – were set and then abandoned as the
rain continued to set in but spectators finally got some action when the
sides took to the field at 3pm.

A 24-over match was scheduled at that
point but spectators reacted with disbelief when just one delivery – a
leg-side wide by Morne Morkel – was sent down before the players left
the field again.

On hold again: Players trudge off in the rain

On hold again: Players trudge off in the rain

A slow handclap ensued and the delay
this time lasted just 10 minutes before hostilities were resumed, this
time with a further over per innings removed.

Alastair Cook failed to score off the
first six legal deliveries of the game and was then close to being run
out attempting a bold single when Wayne Parnell failed to hit the stumps
from close range.

England managed just four runs from
the first three overs but both Cook and Bell picked up boundaries in
Lonwabo Tsotsobe's second over, both crisply driven to the ropes.

Cook (10no) might already have been
gone after a bold single gave Parnell the chance of a run-out from
mid-on. He missed from close range to reprieve the England skipper.

From there it was all about Bell.

Still having fun: Fans drinking during a rain break

Still having fun: Fans drinking during a rain break

He took a step down the track before
swiping Morkel into the stands at mid-wicket for six and followed up
with an even better lofted six over mid-off.

England took 16 off that fifth over to
double their total and when Bell stepped outside off-stump and flicked
Tsotsobe for four over short fine-leg it looked as though fireworks were
imminent.

Instead, it turned out to be a damp squib as just two more balls were possible before the rain returned with vengeance.

This time the weather was heavy and
locked in for a long time, leaving officials with no choice but to call a
halt to proceedings.

England had earlier chosen to hand Chris Woakes his fifth ODI cap, and the first since August 25 last year, with the in-form Warwickshire all-rounder replacing the rested Stuart Broad.

Broad has been given the series off and 23-year-old Woakes got the nod ahead of Samit Patel's left-arm spin and the pace of Jade Dernbach.

Halted: Ian Bell and Cook leave the field

Halted: Ian Bell and Cook leave the field

South Africa's side was much-changed from the team which clinched the Test series 2-0, with only De Villiers, Hashim Amla, Graeme Smith, JP Duminy and Morne Morkel retained.

Debutant Dean Elgar was among the incoming players, alongside one-day specialists including Ryan McLaren, Robin Peterson and Faf du Plessis.

Both Albie Morkel and Dale Steyn failed fitness tests and will be monitored ahead of Tuesday's second match at Hampshire's Ageas Bowl.

Team manager Dr Mohammed Moosajee said: 'Albie's recurring left ankle injury is still a concern for us. We do not want to risk him by playing and would rather take the necessary precautionary measures especially with the World T20 taking place next month.

'Dale is battling with a stiff neck and will need a few days to recover from the strain.'