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Pietersen doubtful for hosts vital game

With Englandís involvement in the later stages of the Twenty20 World Cup already in doubt after just 48 hours their hopes are resting on the fitness of Kevin Pietersen.

Although Pietersen has been the first to admit he hasnít got to grips with the shortest form of the game England will need every ounce of help they can get knowing a defeat against Pakistan at the Brit Oval will consign England to the bottom of Group B.

Pietersen was a helpless spectator during Englandís shock four wicket defeat by the Netherlands on Friday night at Lords with a recurrence of an Achilles injury which he first picked up in Englandís recent tour of the Caribbean.

Although he has received intense treatment over the last two day including a number of injections he is still unlikely to play at the Brit Oval.

More worrying for England is the fact that Pietersen might not even be fit for the start of the Ashes in Cardiff on July 8th. It leaves Andy Flower, the England coach with a difficult decision to make ahead of an Ashes summer.

Do they rush Pietersen back for todayís make or break game against Pakistan and risk a further breakdown which would put Pietersenís participation in the Cardiff Test in grave doubt or do they rest him and suffer the igmony of being dumped out of the World Cup inside 48 hours.

If Pietersen loses his fitness battle Flower is left with some difficult decisions to make with Englandís World Cup hope is the balance. Englandís inability to hit a six on Friday night at Lords was one of the major factors in their shock defeat.

Although Ravi Bopora and Luke Wright got England off to a perfect start against the Dutch sharing an opening partnership of 102 if was the failings of Owais Shah, Eoin Morgan and Paul Collingwood which was a major factor if their 4 wicket defeat.

It was left to Robert Key, who was omitted out of Englandís two warm games and badly out of form, to steer England past 170 with the help of James Foster.

With so much on the line England need to be brave and throw caution to the wind and make some major changes to the chemistry of team. If Pietersen isnít deemed fit to play Graham Napier should come straight in at No 3 replacing Shah.

With England needing more artillery at the top of the order Morgan would be replaced by Dimitri Mascarenhas who was one of the few players to actually get a game in the IPL.

With Napier in the side England will have at least one player who can change the game in a heart beat. To win a Twenty20 game you need to hit boundaries but Englandís tactics have always been to make sure you score from every ball even if it means taking a single.

Sixes and fours win Twenty20 games and with Englandís fate hanging in the balance it is time England be brave and attack from the first ball.

source - cricket20.com
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