CHESTER-LE-STREET, ENGLAND // Stuart Broad, the England captain, conceded his side's batting performance was not good enough to trouble South Africa as they lost their first Twenty20 international at Durham.
The hosts set a short-looking 118 for seven and South Africa duly chased it down with an over and seven wickets to spare, with Jacques Kallis (48 not out) and JP Duminy (47 not out) seeing the tourists home.
England were efficient in the field, but their low total had hamstrung them, with Craig Kieswetter (25) their top scorer.
"We were 20 or 30 short, we didn't adapt to the condition of the pitch or bat to our average," Broad told Sky Sports.
"We got a little bit stuck with the spin. We played nicely through the first six overs, but struggled in the middle period. We are aware of that and we know where to improve."
England will face a lot of spin when they land in Sri Lanka to defend their World T20 title later this month, but Broad is not concerned about their ability to play it.
"It's not too much of a concern, we need to adapt and learn from this game," he said ahead of tomorrow's second-of-three clash.
"There is a lot of cricket to be played before then. We need to make strides and develop."
England repeated familiar mistakes as they switched formats and venues, but again came up short.
As at Trent Bridge, where England posted an under-par total on the way to one-day series defeat against the same opponents three days ago, so it was here as a string of front line batsmen fell to soft dismissals.
On a pitch of decent pace, but with spin available for Johan Botha and Robin Peterson, England's highest partnership was Broad and Graeme Swann's unbroken 33 for the eighth wicket.
Until then, early promise foundered alarmingly as Peterson and Botha shared four wickets and England registered the third-lowest total in their Twenty20 history.
When South Africa faltered to 29 for three after four overs in reply, it seemed England's bowlers might somehow salvage the situation after all. But that was a fleeting misconception.
AB de Villiers, the South Africa captain, laid praise for the victory at the door of his bowlers.
Dale Steyn bowled four overs across as many spells for figures of one for 13, and De Villiers said: "I am very proud of how the boys played. The bowling was brilliant, led by Dale Steyn.
"He bowled with a lot of pace and looked like taking wickets throughout. We never allowed England to get momentum."
Steyn, a scourge of England during the recent Test and 50-over series, was named man of the match for his efforts.
"All the bowlers bowled well. It was a team performance," he said. I can live with bowling one-over spells. It's a lot easier than Test matches."
* Press Association