Pietersen power revives England's T20 hopes
by AFP

Ground:Kennington Oval, Kennington
Scorecard:England v Pakistan
Player:LJ Wright, KP Pietersen, Younis Khan, Mohammad Aamer, SCJ Broad
Event:ICC World Twenty20 2009

DateLine: 8th June 2009


England booked their place in the second round Super Eights of the ICC World Twenty20 with a 48-run win over Pakistan at the Oval here on Sunday.


The hosts, 48 hours after their shock four-wicket loss to the Netherlands, bounced back to record a win which, because their net run-rate was now superior to that of the Dutch, ensured their progress in the tournament.


Pakistan, finalists at the inaugural World Twenty20 in South Africa two years ago, now face a make or break Group B clash against the Netherlands at Lord's on Tuesday.


Kevin Pietersen came back from an Achilles injury to lead England to a total of 185 for five with 58 after missing Friday's Dutch debacle at Lord's.


"It was a huge match," Pietersen told Sky Sports. "If we didn't win we were out and that is not nice.


"It was a huge evening - I was desperate to play, I've never had an injury that has kept me out which has been hard to deal with.


"I reckon I'm about 70 percent fit. Hopefully that is the last of it now because I just love playing."


England captain Paul Collingwood told reporters: "It was exactly what we needed. I think we showed a lot of character.


"Friday night was a massive blow for us. We were under a lot of pressure to put in a good performance but this showed how much we wanted it."


Collingwood, who said Pietersen had been passed fit on Sunday morning, added: "He was desperate to play and he made a huge impact."


All-rounder Collingwood, asked how England could play so poorly against the Dutch and yet win so well against Pakistan, added: "I wish I knew the reasons, I'm still convinced Friday night was just meant to happen.


"But today we got it 100 percent right. It was do or die and we delivered."


Pakistan, chasing 186 for victory, saw Stuart Broad take two wickets in as many balls to reduce them to 41 for three at the end of the six-over powerplay.


Kamran Akmal holed out to Luke Wright at deep mid-wicket before opener Salman Butt exited for 28.


Pace bowler Broad led England's attack with three for 17 from three overs.


It was a heartening display by the Nottinghamshire quick after his nightmare last over against the Dutch where he missed several chances to take a wicket.


Pakistan's innings petered out as they finished on 137 for seven with captain Younus Khan stranded on 46 not out.


Defeat left Pakistan needing a big win against the Dutch to go through to the Super Eights and Younus said: "We must win against them and the onus lies on the senior guys like Shahid Afridi, Misbah-ul-Haq, Shoaib Malik and myself."


But Younus refused to get too downhearted about the possibility of Pakistan making an early exit from the tournament.


"It will be sad if we don't make it to the Super Eights but it won't be a disaster. Twenty20 cricket is fun cricket. It's more for entertainment even if it is international cricket."


By the time the dangerous Afridi reached the crease, Pakistan were 87 for four in the 13th over.


Afridi could only manage five before he skied off-spinner Graeme Swann to substitute fielder and former Irish cricketing star Eoin Morgan in the deep.


Earlier, South Africa born shotmaker Pietersen faced 38 balls with three sixes and five fours before he was caught at short third man by Umar Gul off Saeed Ajmal.


Spin bowler Ajmal had dropped a caught and bowled chance when Pietersen was on 30.


Pakistan made an early breakthrough after Younus won the toss.


Teenager Mohammad Aamir, a left-arm quick like his boyhood hero Wasim Akram, marked his international debut by removing Ravi Bopara but it needed a superb catch at backward point by Shoaib Malik to leave England nine for one.


Opener Luke Wright, who struck England's first six of the tournament, a pull off the 17-year-old Aamir, kept the run-rate high in the overcast conditions by striking five fours in as many balls faced on his way to a brisk 34.

(Article: Copyright © 2009 AFP)