Pietersen pulls Poms through

England, led by an unbeaten 70 from Kevin Pietersen, chased down Pakistan’s 147-9 with three balls remaining to win the first Super Eight clash.

England produced a solid all-round performance to strike first blood in the Super Eights, setting up their first win of the T20 World Cup, limiting Pakistan to 147 for 9 in their 20 overs.

But at 44 for 1 after the six Powerplay overs and looking dangerous, Pakistan were in the driver’s seat. However, spin once again proved decisive in the middle stages; Michael Yardy and Graham Swann (with off-cutters from Collingwood contributing) eased the flow of runs, while snaring three crucial wickets; opener Salman Butt, who had cruised along to 34 from 26 balls, contextually the most important.

Michael Yardy brought about two in two balls, including the captain Shahid Afridi for a duck as he fell attempting a suicide run. At 77 for 4, Misbah-ul-Haq and Umar Akmal tried to bring Pakistan back, but dealing largely in singles made their task taller. Yardy, responded by bowling him with a quicker ball, leaving Pakistan with plenty of work to do at 112 for 5.

But the tail wagged, coming to a head in the final over as Tim Bresnan flushed his figures; bowling three wides, and conceding a slogged four and a top-edged six; Pakistan falling just short of 150.

England’s chase was aided by sloppy Pakistani fielding (putting down three catches in the first five overs alone) and as such was always ahead of the required rate; Craig Kieswetter (25) and Michael Lumb (25) getting them off to a good start with a 44 run stand. But apart from Pietersen’s 70* from 52 balls, the English response was unremarkable and measured; eclipsing the mediocre total with three balls to spare.

Pakistan 147-9 (20 overs)
Salman Butt 34, Umar Akmal 30, Michael Yardy 2-19
England 148-4 (19.3 overs)
Kevin Pietersen 70*, Michael Lumb 25, Saeed Ajmal 2-15
England won by six wickets

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