The new captain of England, Jos Buttler, watched as his team lost to South Africa by a crushing 90 runs in the final Twenty20 international on Sunday. This was another low point for the hosts during a tough white-ball summer.
England was given 192 to win in the third T20 at Southampton, but they were only able to score 101. This was their joint-biggest loss in this format. England also went through its first home summer since 2013 without winning a limited-overs series.
South Africa won the series by a score of 2-1.
It's another tough start for Buttler as England's white-ball captain. He took over for Eoin Morgan in June and a month later, his trusted ally Ben Stokes quit 50-over cricket.
India had already won two limited-overs series against the hosts by that point and this loss to South Africa, which enjoyed half-centuries by Reeza Hendricks and Aiden Markram in a total of 191-5, leaves the home side low on confidence before this winter’s T20 World Cup.
“With the bat we never imposed ourselves, never managed to wrestle the initiative and put pressure on the opposition. I think that little bit of timidness is probably the thing we are frustrated with the most. We want to be known as a team that wants to be brave and take risks,” Buttler said. “I can be honest enough to say we haven’t performed how we would have liked the whole summer, so maybe the confidence has taken a bit of a dent.”
Buttler and his new head coach, Matthew Mott, are scheduled to play at least seven Twenty20 games away in Pakistan in September. They hope to rebuild their confidence there before turning their full attention to Australia, where England may no longer be one of the favourites to win.
Losing in Cardiff on Thursday set up a winner-takes-all match at the Ageas Bowl. Buttler again won the toss and fielded first, which seemed like a good choice when David Willey, who had been brought back from injury, sent Quinton De Kock back after three balls for a duck.
Rilee Rossouw replied with an entertaining innings of 31 runs in 18 balls. Chris Jordan gave him four boundaries in a single over, but Moeen Ali got rid of him after the first of two short rain delays.
During the middle of South Africa's innings, they went six overs without scoring a boundary. However, Hendricks kept himself busy by hitting singles and twos, and Markram, who was back in the T20 team for the first time since last year's World Cup, helped them out.
Hendricks did eventually move through the gears and hit his third fifty of the series, 70, in 50 balls. The visiting captain, David Miller, scored 22 runs in nine balls, but the great Willey took two wickets at the end to end Miller's fun.
Willey's final score was 3-25, which he got in four overs.
Jonny Bairstow's 27 off 30 balls was England's highest score. After Buttler and Jason Roy (17) put up 28 runs together in the first over, they were both out in the fourth over. Jordan (14) was the only other batter for England to get to double digits.