BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, CMC – An enterprising half-century from Kevin Pietersen propelled England to a comfortable six-wicket victory over Pakistan in the Twenty20 World Cup yesterday.
Pietersen struck eight fours and two sixes in an unbeaten 73 from 52 balls, as England, chasing 148 for victory, reached their target with three balls to spare in the first Super Eight match.
The former England captain reached his 50 from 37 balls with his second six, a lofted straight drive off Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi that crashed into the bottom level of the Coppin, Cozier & Short Media Centre at the Malcolm Marshall (southern) End of the ground.
Pietersen then formalised the result for England, when he drove Saeed Ajmal through extra cover for a boundary, and was later named Man-of-the-Match.
This followed reckless batting from Pakistan, which restricted them to 147 for nine from their allocation of 20 overs, after they chose to bat on a hard, true Kensington Oval pitch.
Opener Salman Butt hit the top score of 34 from 26 balls and Umar Akmal made 30 from 25 balls for the Pakistanis.
Michael Yardy, Stuart Broad, and Ryan Sidebottom collected two wickets apiece for England.
Openers Michael Lumb and Craig Kieswetter gave England a solid start, but they were both fortunate to have been let-off early in their innings.
Saeed Ajmal was the offending fielder on all three occasions, when he dropped Kieswetter, on zero, at mid-on off Abdul Razzaq in the first over, and on four, at mid-on off Mohammad Aamer in the third over, as well as Lumb, on 23, at mid-off off the same bowler in the fifth over.
Ajmal became the hero however, when he had Lumb stumped for 25 in the sixth over to give Pakistan the breakthrough.
England slipped to 65 for two, when Kieswetter was caught at long-on off Abdul Razzaq for 25, but England captain Paul Collingwood joined Pietersen, and they put their side firmly on track with a stand of 60 for the third wicket.
Collingwood was caught at long-on off Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi for 16 in the 16th over, and Eoin Morgan was bowled by Ajmal for five in the 18th over before England stepped over the threshold.
Earlier, Pakistan wobbled to 77 for four in the 11th over, and never fully recovered from the early strife.
Every time it appeared they were about to mount a serious challenge, a careless stroke set them back, and kept England in control.
There was little substance and stability in the Pakistan batting outside of a stand of 40 for the second wicket between Butt and Mohammad Hafeez.
Pakistan face New Zealand in their second Super Eight match on Saturday, on the same day that England meet South Africa.
PAKISTAN (maximum 20 overs)
+Kamran Akmal c wkpr Kieswetter b Broad 15
Salman Butt c *Collingwood b Swann 34
Mohammad Hafeez c Broad b Yardy 18
Umar Akmal c Pietersen b Sidebottom 30
*Shahid Afridi run out (Wright) 0
Misbah-ul-Haq b Yardy 13
Abdul Razzaq c Bresnan b Sidebottom 10
Fawad Alam c wkpr Kieswetter b Broad 1
Mohammad Aamer c Swann b Bresnan 3
Saeed Ajmal not out 13
Mohammad Asif not out 0
Extras (b1, w7, nb2) 10
TOTAL (9 wkts, 20 overs) 147
Fall of wickets: 1-31 (+Kamran Akmal, 4.5 overs); 2-71 (Salman Butt, 9.2); 3-77 (Mohammad Hafeez, 10.3); 4-77 (*Shahid Afridi, 10.4); 5-102 (Misbah-ul-Haq, 14.6); 6-118 (Umar Akmal, 16.4); 7-120 (Fawad Alam, 17.1); 8-132 (Abdul Razzaq, 18.6); 9-132 (Mohammad Aamer, 19.1)
Bowling: Sidebottom 3-0-28-2 (w3); Bresnan 4-0-36-1 (nb1, w4); Broad 4-0-25-2 (nb1); Yardy 4-0-19-2; Swann 4-0-28-1; *Collingwood 1-0-10-0
ENGLAND (target: 148 off 20 overs)
M. Lumb st Kamran Akmal b Saeed Ajmal 25
+C. Kieswetter c Umar Akmal b Abdul Razzaq 25
K. Pietersen not out 73
*P. Collingwood c Umar Akmal b Shahid Afridi 16
E. Morgan b Saeed Ajmal 5
L. Wright not out 1
Extras (lb3, w3) 6
TOTAL (4 wkts, 19.3 overs) 151
S. Broad, T. Bresnan, G. Swann, M. Yardy, R. Sidebottom did not bat
Fall of wickets: 1-44 (Lumb, 5.4 overs); 2-65 (Kieswetter, 8.1); 3-125 (*Collingwood, 15.6); 4-140 (Morgan, 17.6)
Bowling: Abdul Razzaq 3-0-22-1; Mohammad Asif 4-0-43-0; Mohammad Aamer 4-0-25-0 (w2); Saeed Ajmal 3.3-0-15-2; Mohammad Hafeez 1-0-12-0 (w1); *Shahid Afridi 4-0-28-1
Result: England won by six wickets
Points: England 2, Pakistan 0
Man-of-the-Match: Kevin Pietersen (England)
Umpires: B. Bowden, R. Koertzen
TV umpire: S. Taufel
Matchreferee: A. Hurst
Reserve umpire: Aleem Dar