England repeated familiar mistakes as they switched formats and venues, but again came up short against South Africa in the first NatWest Twenty20 at Emirates Durham ICG.

As at Trent Bridge, where England posted an under-par total on the way to NatWest Series defeat against the same opponents three days ago, so it was here as a string of frontline batsmen fell to soft dismissals.

A vulnerable 118 for seven resulted before, in another echo of Nottingham, England's new-ball attack took three early wickets - and then an old hand, this time the returning Jacques Kallis (48no), took over in company with JP Duminy (47no) to see South Africa home with seven wickets and an over to spare.

On a pitch of decent pace, but with spin available for Johan Botha and Robin Peterson, England's highest partnership was captain Stuart Broad and Graeme Swann's unbroken 33 for the eighth wicket.

Until then, early promise foundered alarmingly as Peterson and Botha shared four wickets - with minimal resistance - and England registered the third-lowest total in their Twenty20 history.

When South Africa faltered to 29 for three after four overs, it seemed England's bowlers might somehow salvage the situation after all but that was a fleeting misconception.

Steven Finn bowled especially well, rewarded only with the wicket of debutant Faf du Plessis - stuck on the crease lbw.

Jade Dernbach had already had opener Richard Levi well-caught high at slip by Swann, and home hopes were truly raised when AB De Villiers edged the same bowler behind as he tried to force off-side runs off the back foot.

But Kallis, back after his sabbatical during the drawn 50-over series, was still standing in England's way.

He and Duminy duly shared an unbroken stand of 90, a record for the fourth wicket by any team against England in this sprint format.