Collingwood happy with low T20 expectations

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The Independent Online

Paul Collingwood believes England can exploit their role as unfancied outsiders and become dangerous dark horses in the World Twenty20.

The England captain watched with satisfaction as his side completed a six-wicket win over Scotland in their opening warm-up match at Trent Bridge following an unbeaten 53 off 39 balls from Kevin Pietersen.

They complete their build-up to the tournament with another warm-up encounter against West Indies at Lord's later today, but even a comprehensive win is unlikely to raise expectations of a home success in the tournament.

But Collingwood believes without that pressure, England can thrive during the coming weeks and perhaps build up enough momentum to become serious challengers on home soil.

Asked whether there was a lot of pressure as hosts, Collingwood stressed: "We've got a slight advantage knowing the conditions, but it's probably the other way around and there are not a lot of expectations on our shoulders.

"We're very much dark horses and hopefully that will give the boys a bit more of a licence. The belief and the freedom to go out there and express yourself is important in this form of the game so hopefully that gives the boys a bit more of a licence and they won't have as much pressure on them."

Chasing Scotland's 136 for five yesterday, Pietersen sealed their triumph with an over to spare on his first England appearance since missing the one-day series triumph against West Indies with Achilles problems.

It was a laboured rather than a spectacular display by England, but Collingwood was impressed - and particularly by the form showed by Pietersen in chasing down their target.

"He's obviously raring to go, he's had a few weeks off through injury and he's got that buzz about him," enthused Collingwood.

"He's got a big smile on his face and I thought it was a really mature innings from him and we're going to need more of those kind of innings off him during the tournament.

"There are obviously areas where we could have played a little bit better but I thought the way we knocked the runs off there and the way KP took the lead role and knocked the runs off was excellent.

"Some of our bowling we need to work on a little bit but I thought our skills were excellent and the angles and plans worked really well at the death."

Collingwood confirmed that England may field a stronger side later today after James Anderson (left ankle) and off-spinner Graeme Swann (back) were rested as a precaution against niggles in their final match before the tournament opener against Holland at Lord's on Friday.

"There are obviously areas we're going to have a look at and yesterday was more of an experimental side, but we'll make decisions when we get our heads together and our next side will be more like the side that will be playing on Friday," he added.