Pietersen leads England to stylish victory
Kevin Pietersen scored a wonderful half century to help England cruise to a 6 wicket victory over Pakistan to start the Super Eights in fine style against the defending Twenty20 World Cup champions.
England got off to a lucky start chasing Pakistanís total of 147, having started the over poorly by conceding a boundary from his first delivery Abdul Razzaq responded well by getting Craig Kieswetter caught by Saeed Ajmal in the covers.
Amazingly though, Ajmal dropped the ball just as he went to celebrate leaving Pakistan stunned and England with a massive let off as Kieswetter should have been walking back to the dugout.
With one life already used up; Kieswetter survived another chance which involved the unlucky Ajmal once again. The England opener chipped a delivery from Mohammad Aamer over mid on just as Ajmal has stepped up into the 30 metre circle.
The ball looped over Ajmal who could only get his finger tips to the ball as it sailed away to the boundary, if the fielder was standing a foot back he would have taken an easy catch.
Having survived the first couple of overs Michael Lumb and Kieswtter attacked Mohammad Asif in the 4th over as the fast bowler conceded 19 runs which included two boundaries and a six.
With the runs starting to flow Pakistan needed to find a break though with Lumb and Kieswetter now comfortable at the crease after the early let offs.
Mohammad Aamer bowled the 4th over and his first delivery was dispatched for a boundary before Lumb picked out Ajmal in the covers. Having already dropped two chances Ajmal fumbled at the third putting down yet another chance.
To his credit Ajmal bounced straight back, he was given the ball by Shahid Afridi and he struck his first over to remove Lumb (25) who was stumped by Kamran Akmal as Pakistan finally made a break though in the 5th over to leave England 44-1.
Kieswetter was joined at the crease by Kevin Pietersen and the pair wasted little time to re-establish Englandís advantage with Kieswetter in particular starting to look dangerous as he smashed Mohammad Hafeez over the Sir Garfield Sobers pavilion for a monstrous six.
Having survived two chances earlier in his innings Kieswetter (25) was finally caught at the third time of asking. The opener tried to dispatch Abdul Razzaq into the stands with another huge six but the ball dropped just short into the hands on Umar Akmal who had to wait out on the boundary until the ball came back to earth to reduce England to 65-2.
England skipper Paul Collingwood joined Pietersen at the crease with his side well placed to start the Super Eights with an important victory thanks to some ordinary fielding from the defending champs.
Pakistan needed to find a break through if they wanted to have any chance of winning the game and Abdul Razzaq became the latest player to drop a catch.
Having already conceded a boundary of the first ball of the 10th over Razzaq failed to hold onto a chance which was hit straight back at him by Pietersen. The bowler got his hands to hit but he couldnít hold on.
To add further salt to the wounds Pietersen responded by smashing another boundary through the covers from the very next ball.
With England cruising to victory Pakistan made England fight all the way when Afridi dismissed Collingwood (16) at the end of the 15th over to end his partnership with Pietersen which had contributed 60 runs.
Eoin Morgan came to the crease with England needing another 23 runs from 24 balls.
With Pietersen playing superbly Morgan gave his partner as much of the strike as possible and he smashed two boundaries off Mohammad Asif as the victory target was reduced to just 12.
Morgan (5) found the boundary to start the 17th over but with 8 more runs needed he was bowled by Saeed Ajmal, the wicket didnít matter though as Pietersen (70) and Luke Wright (1) saw England home.
Having won the toss England put Pakistan into bat, the game got off to an explosive start with Akmal hitting the first ball of the innings for a six over fine leg to get Pakistanís Super Eights campaign off to the perfect start.
Having seen his first delivery disappear for six Ryan Sidebottom responded with four good deliveries conceding just 1 run before he was punished for bowling a wide delivery which was smashed through deep point for a boundary by Butt.
Pakistanís good start continued as Englandís bowlers struggled on a faster wicket after playing their two group games on a slow turning wicket in Guyana. The deliveries were being bowled two short which allowed Akmal and Butt time and space to dispatch the ball to the boundary.
With one or two concerned faces in the England dugout Stuart Broad struck back to remove Akmal (15) at the start of the 4th over to end an excellent opening partnership of 31 between the Pakistan wicket keeper and Butt.
Having been dropped by Craig Kieswetter, who almost pulled off a stunning one handed catch which would have gone down as one of the catches of the tournament, Akmalís luck run out after the next delivery from Broad.
The England bowler dug the ball in short and it climbed too much for Akmal to hook away, the batsman got a thick top edge instead which looped the ball up into the air allowing Kieswetter to take an easy catch.
Despite losing Akmal Pakistan continued to punish some poor bowling by England, Mohammad Hafeez dispatched consecutive boundaries off the bowling of Michael Yardy as the defending champions looked set for a big score.
England, to their credit fought their way back into the game after Butt and Mohammad Hafeez had built a partnership of 40 run after the earlier dismissal of Akmal.
The break through was made by Swann who floated in a delivery to temp Butt who rushed down the wicket and, although he made great contact with the ball he smashed it straight to Paul Collingwood in the covers who took the catch to reduce Pakistan to 71-2.
With the break though made by Swann; Yardy returned in the next over to dismiss Hafeez who had hit him for two boundaries previously, as Pakistan started to stutter.
With the pressure starting to show Hafeez danced down the wicket in an attempt to kick start Pakistanís innings but Yardy saw him advancing and sent in a quicker delivery which Hafeez (18) slashed to Broad at the third man.
With Pakistan in trouble skipper Shahid Afridi strode out to the crease fall of confidence but, amazingly he returned to the dugout a ball later after he was run out by Luke Wright.
Having knocked the ball into the covers Afridi attempted a suicidal single and was turned back by Umar Akmal who wasnít interested in losing his wicket leaving the skipper stranded in the middle of the wicket with Pakistan 77-4 after 10.4 overs.
After three quick wickets had fallen in the space of 9 balls Misbah-ul-Haq and Umar Akmal now had to rebuild Pakistan innings. They set about the task slowly until Misbah-ul-Haq smashed a Free Hit from Broad for a huge six over long.
Broad looked to have struck back with the very next ball as Misbah-ul-Haq seemed to have edged the ball through to Kieswetter, the bowler turned away to celebrate but was stunned to see none of his teammate celebrating.
The partnership had reached 25 before another piece of suicidal cricket cost Pakistan another wicket as Misbah-ul-Haq (13) tried to reverse sweep Yardy.
Having played the shot to early he left himself fully exposed which allowed Yardy to fire in a quicker ball which cannoned into the stumps to reduce Pakistan to 102-5.
Akmal struck back with a couple of lofty blows sending the ball over the boundary for a massive six off the bowling of Swan and a four from Sidebottomís next over as Pakistanís lower order tried to break Englandís strange hold on the game.
Not matter what Pakistan did England always seemed to strike back and this time it was no different as Akmal (30) tried another big shot which was brilliant caught by Kevin Pietersen out on the boundary.
Akmal smashed Sidebottomís short delivery miles into the air over midwicket and with most of the crowd expecting another six the ball just dropped short at the last second allowing Pietersen to take an excellent catch as he ran around the boundary.
Five balls later England were celebrating again as Broad picked up his second wicket dismissing Fawad Alam (1) who was caught by Kieswetter to leave Pakistan 120-7 with 17.2 overs gone.
With Pakistan on the ropes Sidebottom gave them some relief by bowling two wides and conceding a six before he struck back at the end of his over to remove Abdul Razzaq (10) who was caught by Bresnan.
Having just took the catch Bresnan returned with the ball at the start of the last over to dismiss Mohammad Aamer (3) who was caught by Yardy in the covers to leave Pakistab 132-9 having lost two wickets in the space of two balls.
Saeed Ajmal (13) and Mohammad Asif (0) were left to see out the last 5 balls and they amazingly added 15 runs to set England a run chase of 148 as the defending champs ended the innings with a little bit of momentum.