Essex prevail as Pietersen disappoints on home debut

Hampshire 175-9
Essex 69-2
Essex win by 16 runs on Duckworth-Lewis method

Kevin Pietersen made an inauspicious debut for the Hampshire Hawks yesterday when he was bowled out for five in the county's Totesport League defeat against Essex Eagles. On a cold, miserable afternoon, persistent rain finally forced the umpires to take the players off the field after 16 overs of Essex's reply, and by this time the visitors, on 69 for 2, were 16 runs ahead of the total they needed according to Duckworth/Lewis calculations.

Kevin Pietersen made an inauspicious debut for the Hampshire Hawks yesterday when he was bowled out for five in the county's Totesport League defeat against Essex Eagles. On a cold, miserable afternoon, persistent rain finally forced the umpires to take the players off the field after 16 overs of Essex's reply, and by this time the visitors, on 69 for 2, were 16 runs ahead of the total they needed according to Duckworth/Lewis calculations.

The 24 year-old's arrival on the south coast had been eagerly awaited, following his winter move from Nottinghamshire, but on this occasion he failed to show the form that made him an instant hit on England's one-day tour of South Africa, where he scored three magnificent centuries.

It will only be a matter of time before Pietersen's powerful and pugnacious style of batting lightens up the Rose Bowl, but he will have to work far harder for runs here than he did at Trent Bridge. The pitch at Hampshire's ground offers consistent assistance to fast bowlers, and this could hamper his chances of forcing his way into England's Test side this summer.

Yet it was a spinner who dismissed the man that the majority of the crowd had come to see. Pietersen arrived at the crease following the run-out of Sean Ervine in the 20th over. Hampshire were on 91 for 2 at the time, but the dismissal of the former Zimbabwe all-rounder - playing under the Kolpak ruling - initiated a collapse in which the home side lost six wickets for 41 runs in 14 overs.

South Africa's bowlers had found it almost impossible to control Pietersen in February, but it could hardly be said that an outstanding piece of bowling caused his downfall here. This would not have worried Tim Phillips, Essex's 24-year-old left-arm spinner. A career-threatening knee injury had kept him out of cricket for almost two seasons and this was his first senior wicket since returning.

It took Pietersen seven balls to score his first run, and he had pushed three singles, along with a two, before he decided to dance down the wicket and attempt to hit Phillips through midwicket. But for some inexplicable reason he missed a full toss and was bowled.

Hampshire never recovered from the loss of their key batsman. Simon Katich fell in Phillips' next over, when he missed an attempted cut shot and was bowled. And the Australian was quickly followed back to the pavilion by John Crawley, Nic Pothas and Shane Warne, who each failed to control aggressive shots at Essex's spinners.

With the rain falling, and only 175 runs to defend, Hampshire needed early wickets. Ronnie Irani gifted them their first but Will Jefferson ensured that Essex remained in control.

¿ A resurgent Pakistan beat India by 159 runs in Delhi in the sixth and final one-day international yesterday to take the series 4-2 in a match marred by crowd trouble. Missiles and water bottles were hurled on to the pitch as India slid to defeat after being reduced to 94 for 6. Play resumed after 15 minutes with riot police moving into the stands.

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