(Reuters) – Kevin Pietersen’s second successive century led England to a four-wicket victory over Pakistan and a series whitewash after the fourth and final one-day international in Dubai yesterday.
Pietersen smashed 130 off 153 balls as England reached their target of 238 with four balls to spare.
Pakistan’s 237 was built around half-centuries by Azhar Ali (58) and Asad Shafiq (65) but they lost momentum after a solid start and England overcame the early loss of in-form captain Alastair Cook to take partial revenge for their 3-0 defeat in the test series.
Pietersen’s ninth one-day international century lifted him level with England batting coach Graham Gooch on 28 hundreds for his country and confirmed the return to form of a player who struggled in one-day cricket last year. “That’s probably the best knock I’ve ever played in one-day cricket,” Pietersen said in a televised interview. “I enjoyed the calmness of the chase, we picked the bowlers to target, which we don’t often do in the England side. We try to get after all of them. I’ll never stop trying, I just want to enjoy my cricket.”
Pietersen, who struck two sixes and 12 fours, received good support from Craig Kieswetter, who made 43 in a fifth-wicket partnership of 109, was finally dismissed by Saeed Ajmal in the 49th over with just two runs needed for victory. Pakistan recovered well from the early loss of Mohammad Hafeez, with Ali and Shafiq sharing a second-wicket partnership of 111 to give them a solid start.
But Shafiq was bowled by Tim Bresnan and Ali caught by Eoin Morgan off Jade Dernbach as the hosts lost their way.
Captain Misbah-ul-Haq struck a huge six in his knock of 46 but England bowled and fielded tightly, with Dernbach claiming figures of four for 45 and spinner Danny Briggs two for 39 on his international debut. The teams now play three Twenty20 internationals starting in Dubai on Thursday with Cook added to the England squad as cover for the injured Ravi Bopara.
Mohammad Hafeez lbw b Finn 29
Imran Farhat c Kieswetter b Finn 9
Azhar Ali c Kieswetter b Broad 5
Asad Shafiq run out 18
Misbah-ul-Haq c Swann b Broad 1
Umar Akmal c Patel b Broad 50
Shahid Afridi b Anderson 51
Adnan Akmal b Finn 9
Umar Gul not out 27
Saeed Ajmal b Anderson 4
Aizaz Cheema run out 5
Extras (lb 11, w 2, nb 1) 14
Total (all out; 50 overs) 222
Fall of wickets: 1-22 2-49 3-49 4-50 5-97 6-176 7-180 8-204 9-209 10-222
Bowling: J. Anderson 10-0-52-2, S. Finn 10-1-24-3 (2w), S. Broad 10-2-42-3 (1nb), G. Swann 10-0-44-0, S. Patel 8-1-37-0, R. Bopara 2-0-12-0
A. Cook c Adnan Akmal b Saeed Ajmal 80
K. Pietersen not out 111
E. Morgan not out 24
Extras (lb 3, w 4, nb 4) 11
Total (for one wicket; 37.2 overs) 226
Did not bat: J. Trott, R. Bopara, C. Kieswetter, S. Patel, S. Broad, G. Swann, J. Anderson, S. Finn Fall of wicket: 1-170
Bowling: Umar Gul 7-0-59-0 (4nb, 1w), Aizaz Cheema 6.2-0-40-0, Saeed Ajmal 10-1-40-1 (1w), Mohammad Hafeez 6-0-32-0, Shahid Afridi 8-0-52-0