S. Dinakar

Flurry of wickets after a brisk start and poor catching do Pakistan in

BRIDGETOWN: Kevin Pietersen is light on his feet and heavy with his strokes. He waltzed at the crease here on Thursday with shots that were both graceful and inventive.

The smooth-stroker was unbeaten with a 52-ball 73 as England won the first Super Eights duel of the ICC World Twenty20 by six wickets with three deliveries to spare.

Chasing 148 after inserting Pakistan, England, guided by Pietersen's brilliance, managed to nail a potentially hazardous chase on a lively pitch. The innings was well-paced; only two runs were required in the final over.

Earlier, paceman Stuart Broad and left-arm spinner Michael Yardy impressed as Pakistan was pegged back when poised for a surge.

England, however, was let off the hook by Pakistan's sloppy catching.

Saeed Ajmal grassed a regulation offering at mid-on after appearing to have the ball in control to reprieve opener Craig Kieswetter (on zero) off paceman Abdul Razzaq.

Then, Ajmal put down Michael Lumb (on 23), left-arm speedster Mohammed Aamer being the bowler to suffer.

Costly lapse

And Razzaq failed to latch on to a return catch when Pietersen was on 21. It proved a costly lapse.

After Kieswetter and the more fluent Lumb had powered England to a strong start — the openers put on 44 in 5.4 overs — Pietersen took charge.

Crucially, he forced the Pakistani bowlers to alter their length. He danced down the track to convert the length to drive, loft, flick and glance both the pacemen and the spinners.

He won the crucial duel against leg-spinner Shahid Afridi; the on-the-walk strike over cover reflected his urge to dominate.

The manner in which Pietersen, using his feet, clipped Afridi displayed his balance and timing.

Indeed, Pietersen was at his fluent best. The lofted six over long-off — against the spin — off off-spinner Ajmal was high on the scale of difficulty.

Paul Collingwood batted smartly, rotating the strike.

England lost its skipper and Eoin Morgan towards the end, but then Pietersen had inflicted too much damage for his side to be in any trouble.

It was his afternoon at the Kensington Oval. Pietersen was adjudged Man-of-the-Match.

Bright start

Earlier, Pakistan started in an emphatic manner with Kamran Akmal pulling the first ball of the match — from left-armer Ryan Sidebottom — over the ropes. The dangerous Akmal dazzled briefly before Broad, extracting good bounce from the pitch, consumed the batsman on the hook.

Meanwhile, the left-handed Salman Butt, drove, sliced and flicked to the delight of the Pakistani supporters.

Off-spinner Graeme Swann, a quality bowler, deceived Butt in the flight to terminate a promising innings.

Umar Akmal, a naturally free-stroking batsman, produced a few sparkling shots but Pakistan continued to lose wickets.

Pakistan: K. Akmal c Kieswetter b Broad 15 ( 18b, 2x4, 1x6), S. Butt c Collingwood b Swann 34 ( 26b, 3x4, 1x6), M. Hafeez c Broad b Yardy 18 ( 14b, 2x4), U. Akmal c Pietersen b Sidebottom 30 ( 25b, 2x4, 1x6), S. Afridi (run out) 0 ( 1b), Misbah b Yardy 13 ( 14b, 1x6), A. Razzaq c Bresnan b Sidebottom 10 ( 9b, 1x6), F. Alam c Kieswetter b Broad 1 ( 3b), M. Aamer c Yardy b Bresnan 3 ( 7b), S. Ajmal (not out) 13 ( 5b, 1x4, 1x6), M. Asif (not out) 0 ( 0b); Extras (b-1, w-7, nb-2): 10. Total (for nine wkts. in 20 overs): 147.

Fall of wickets: 1-31, 2-71, 3-77, 4-77, 5-102, 6-118, 7-120, 8-132, 9-132.

England bowling: Sidebottom 3-0-28-2, Bresnan 4-0-36-1, Broad 4-0-25-2, Yardy 4-0-19-2, Swann 4-0-28-1, Collingwood 1-0-10-0.

England: M. Lumb st. K. Akmal b Ajmal 25 ( 13b, 3x4, 1x6), C. Kieswetter c U. Akmal b Razzaq 25 ( 27b, 3x4, 1x6), K. Pietersen (not out) 73 (52b, 8x4, 2x6), P. Collingwood c U. Akmal b Afridi 16 (15b, 1x4), E. Morgan b Ajmal 5 (7b, 1x4), L. Wright (not out) 1 (3b); Extras (lb-3, w-3): 6. Total (for four wkts. in 19.3 overs): 151.

Fall of wickets: 1-44, 2-65, 3-125, 4-140.

Pakistan bowling: Razzaq 3-0-22-1, Asif 4-0-43-0, Aamer 4-0-25-0, Ajmal 3.3-0-18-2, Hafeez 1-0-12-0, Afridi 4-0-28-1 .

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