ICC World Twenty20 Super Eights, Cape Town:
South Africa 154-8 (20 ovs) bt England 135-7 (20 ovs) by 19 runs
Pollock put England on the back foot immediately
England succumbed to a 19-run defeat against South Africa in their opening match of the Super Eights in Cape Town.
Chasing 155, they were 28-3 after five overs, with Kevin Pietersen run out after a collision with Shaun Pollock and Paul Collingwood out first ball.
Owais Shah hit two sixes in his 36 but there was no match-winner for England.
South Africa had been 94-6 but Albie Morkel, dropped twice, hit three huge sixes in a row in a brutal 43 off 20 balls as 98 came in the final 11 overs.
England made two changes, bringing in James Anderson and Jeremy Snape for Darren Maddy and James Kirtley.
Collingwood won the toss and decided to let South Africa work out what was a good score on a heavily cracked pitch.
It had been used for the earlier Australia-Bangladesh match and resembled a battered back street in Tooting.
Morkel's scintillating innings turned the contest in Cape Town
England's early tactic of rotating the seamers in one-over spells proved successful and they were in command for the first half of the innings.
Stuart Broad struck with his first ball to dismiss JP Duminy before Graeme Smith, after four fours in his 19, top-edged to fine-leg.
AB de Villiers then edged the first ball of a new spell from Andrew Flintoff.
Chris Schofield bowled an impressive first over but Snape had the misfortune to have Mark Boucher dropped twice in two balls.
Justin Kemp compounded the misery with a flat sweep for six as the hosts looked to accelerate, but Matt Prior claimed an impressive catch to dismiss the dangerman in the 16th over after he top-edged into orbit.
Morkel launched an awesome drive over cow corner that landed on the roof, but Collingwood and Shah then got themselves in a tangle to allow him a reprieve as another shot looped to safety at deep mid-on.
Morkel hit two sixes into the adjacent brewery - measured at 106 and 102 metres, the longest of the competition - and hit three maximums in succession as 21 came off Schofield's final over.
It was Schofield himself who was guilty of the next error, tipping the ball over the ropes with a tame one-handed effort when Morkel blasted a Broad full toss down the ground.
A rattled England needed a positive start, but the wily Pollock ensured they didn't get one.
He bowled an opening wicket maiden, having Luke Wright caught at backward point following a loose drive.
The key moment arrived when Pietersen, who was booed all the way to the crease, was run out by a direct hit from Makhaya Ntini at backward square-leg.
At the centre of the drama as ever, Pietersen clattered into bowler Pollock, which caused him to drop his bat, and there was no part of his body beyond the crease as the ball beat the batsman into the stumps.
Pietersen could not get to his crease after his entanglement with Pollock
Shah wielded two sixes and Flintoff added successive fours as England made it to 93-4 off 14 overs, compared to South Africa's 91-4 at the same point.
Flintoff was reprieved on nine when his flat-footed drive went straight to deep cover only for Vernon Philander to spill the routine chance.
After Shah had departed to a swing and a miss, Snape was surprisingly sent in ahead of six-hitting expert Dimi Mascarenhas with 54 needed from the final 30 balls.
There were only 14 deliveries left by the time Mascarenhas finally got his chance, but, after Flintoff departed in the penultimate over, there were to be no miracles.