Pietersen punishes Pakistan

England batsman back to his best in Barbados

By Joe Drabble   Last updated: 7th May 2010  

Pietersen punishes Pakistan

Pietersen: Match-winning display

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England gave their hopes of qualifying from the Super Eights stage of the ICC World Twenty20 a massive boost with a six-wicket victory over Pakistan in Barbados.

Kicking off the second phase of the competition, England produced an impressive all-round display to see off the defending champions.

After winning the toss and inserting Pakistan, tight bowling and top quality fielding reduced Shahid Afridi's men to a below-par 147 for nine.

Kevin Pietersen, often criticised for his catching ability, took arguably the catch of the tournament before batting England to a much-needed victory.

Valuable points

The classy right-hander smashed eight fours and two sixes as his unbeaten 73 saw England pick up two valuble points with three balls to spare.

Michael Lumb whipped the first ball of the chase to the square-leg fence, however opening partner Craig Kieswetter should have been sent packing the same over when he was put down by Saeed Ajmal at mid-on.

While the England gloveman continued to ride his luck, Lumb looked far more comfortable, launching Mohammed Asif over the mid-wicket fence in the fourth over.

That same over cost 19 after back-to-back boundaries from Kieswetter and Pakistan heads began to drop. And if they were low, they were virtually touching the floor when Ajmal grassed another straightforward chance, presented to him by Lumb in the fifth over.

But the canny off-spinner made amends immediately, luring Lumb (25 off 13 balls) down the pitch and allowing wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal whipping off the bails in the blink of an eye.

Pietersen replaced Lumb and kept England up with the required rate, despite Kieswetter perishing for an unconvincing 25 when he holed out to Umar Akmal off the bowling of Abdul Razzaq.

Pietersen, given a life on 21 when Razzaq put a sharp return chance down, cashed in with an array of powerful boundaries and a straight six off Ajmal, which was given a helping hand by Fawad Alam.

He brought up his fifth Twenty20 international half-century off 38 balls with a wonderful straight six off a full spearing Afridi delivery.

Skipper Paul Collingwood (16 off 15) fell attempting to replicate his partner, but by that time England needed just 23 for victory with four overs remaining.

Eoin Morgan (seven) also fell to Ajmal late on, leaving Pietersen to finish the job midway through the final over.

Brilliant

After being inserted by Collingwood earlier in the day, Pakistan put immediate pressure on Ryan Sidebottom - included once again at the expense of James Anderson - when opener Kamran Akmal hooked the first ball of the match over the rope for six.

The boundaries continued to flow as England's seamers opted for a short length on the bouncy Barbados track.

Their tactic was eventually rewarded in the fifth over when Stuart Broad (two for 25) found the top-edge of Akmal's bat.

Fellow opener Salman Butt kept the scoreboard ticking, launching Collingwood for an almighty six over midwicket off the final ball of his first over.

But, just as the left-hander began to kick on, he only succeeded in fizzing a cover drive to the England captain off the bowling of Graeme Swann.

In danger of undoing their fine start, Pakistan pressed the self-destruct button in the 11th over as they slipped to 77-4 with the loss of Mohammed Hafeez and Afridi in successive balls.

Hafeez slashed a flat Michael Yardy (two for 19) delivery to Broad at short third-man and captain Afridi inexplicably ran himself out to leave the defending champions in a spot of bother.

Misbah-ul-Haq capitalised on a Broad free-hit with a straight six, but he too fell foul to the trajectory of Yardy and was clean bowled attempting an unconvincing reverse sweep for 13.

Sidebottom then returned to claim the wicket of Umar Akmal (30 off 25 balls) in the 17th over, the powerful Pakistan batsman sent on his way courtesy of a brilliant boundary catch taken by Pietersen over his shoulder.

Wickets continued to fall, Fawad Alam snicking off to Broad in the next over and Abdul Razzak following soon after.

Tim Bresnan (1-36) bowled the final over, which cost 15 and included the wicket of Mohammed Aamer, but thankfully for England a target of 148 caused them few problems.

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