Pietersen leads England to Pakistan victory - Cricket - Sport - The Independent

Pietersen leads England to Pakistan victory

Kevin Pietersen hit form as England began their ICC World Twenty20 Super Eight campaign by storming to a six-wicket win over Pakistan at Kensington Oval.

The champions' 147 for nine looked under-par on a pitch of decent pace, after Paul Collingwood had won his first toss of the tournament - and so it proved.



The only worry for England came when Pietersen (70no) pulled up with an apparent injury to his lower left leg. But he was able to continue his innings, and England supporters could be placated by the fact it was at least not the same leg on which Pietersen had Achilles surgery last year.



Collingwood's team did not particularly need any extra help on their way to victory today. But Saeed Ajmal provided plenty of assistance with a nightmare few minutes at mid-off and mid-on, where he twice dropped Craig Kieswetter - the first a straightforward chance on nought - and then put down Michael Lumb for good measure.



The left-hander was able to make only two more runs, before Ajmal clawed back a little ground by turning one past the outside edge to have Lumb easily stumped, and his opening partner went for the same score of 25 when Umar Akmal held on to a nasty skier on the long-on boundary.



Pietersen survived a sharp return chance on 21, when Abdul Razzaq could not cling on.



But England were already well on course by the time Pietersen just got enough on a big drive at Ajmal on 34 to count six over the head of the parrying Fawad Alam, and it soon became merely a matter of time and statistical detail before the match was won.



For the record, Pietersen's share turned out to be eight fours and two sixes from 52 balls, as he dominated a third-wicket stand of 60 with Collingwood - reaching his 50 with a towering maximum over long-off from the bowling of Shahid Afridi and helping England finish the job with three balls to spare.



No Pakistan batsman had been able to make more than opener Salman Butt's 34, as England shared out the wickets - with left-arm spinner Michael Yardy once again the pick of the bowlers, getting through his four overs for just 19 runs.



From the outset, Pakistan set a tempo for a bigger total than they went on to achieve - but undermined themselves with a rush of three wickets in nine balls in mid-innings.



Kamran Akmal hooked Ryan Sidebottom's first ball of the match just out of Tim Bresnan's clutches on the deep backward-square boundary, for six.



But Stuart Broad proved too sharp when Kamran tried a repeat in the fifth over and looped a catch behind to Kieswetter, departing mystified and gesturing to his helmet.



Pakistan were well set by the 10th over, only for Salman to drive Graeme Swann straight into Collingwood's hands at cover.



Yardy had begun his spell moderately, allowing Mohammad Hafeez to get away two early boundaries.



But he got his man, caught at short third-man, and then the dangerous Afridi shot himself in the foot first ball when he set off for an impossible single to cover and never had any chance of retrieving his ground.



Yardy also out-thought and bowled Misbah-ul-Haq as England stuck impressively to their plans and continued to keep on the pressure with tigerish fielding.



Umar - who had escaped a missed stumping on five off Yardy - eventually fell to a fine, running catch at wide long-on by Pietersen.



Pakistan therefore had only Razzaq left to launch the late firepower.



He was unable to do so effectively, and it was left to the tail to somehow fashion 15 runs from Bresnan's final over.



It was not enough, though, to unduly trouble England.



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