Jos Buttler’s quickfire 32 not out provided the platform for England to beat South Africa by 28 runs in the third and final Twenty20 international at Edgbaston on Wednesday.
Victory saw World Twenty20 champions England, who headed to Sri Lanka yesterday to defend the title they won in the Caribbean two years ago, square this three-match series at 1-1, with one no result.
Most of Buttler’s runs, in a match reduced by rain to 11 overs per side, came in a costly ninth over worth 32 from left-arm quick Wayne Parnell.
It was the second-most expensive over in Twenty20 international history after Yuvraj Singh struck England captain Stuart Broad for 36 runs made up of six sixes in Durban during the inaugural 2007 World Twenty20.
England made 118 for five — with man-of-the-match Buttler facing just 10 balls, including three sixes and two fours.
South Africa, who were never up with the rate, finished on 90 for five.
“It’s nice it came off, it was one of those days,” said Buttler, whose previous England best was 13.
“International cricket hasn’t gone quite as I’d hoped so far, so it’s nice to contribute to a winning side,” said the Somerset batsman, who celebrated his 22nd birthday last week.
Broad added: “Jos’ was a game-changing innings. We know how good he is, he’s shown on the county circuit that he does that, he’s done it on the international scene now. It’s always nice when you’ve got a guy who can hit it into the top tier and that was highly impressive. Jos was promoted up the order and those 10 balls changed that game.”
“We’ve got a squad that can do well in Sri Lanka, but we don’t want to look too far ahead,” Broad said.
South Africa captain A.B. de Villiers, involved in the Proteas preceding Test-series win over England and the shared one-day campaign, admitted his team were second best on Wednesday.
“I thought we were completely outplayed today. We didn’t start well and I made a few tactical errors,” he said.
“We made mistakes in the field, but there are lots of positives for the World T20, we’ve played some good cricket all summer and we’re looking forward to Sri Lanka,” De Villiers added.
England’s Craig Kieswetter made 50 off 32 balls, with three sixes and three fours, and with Buttler he put on 48 in 14 balls.