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Last Updated: Thursday, 13 September 2007, 14:53 GMT 15:53 UK
England ease to win over Zimbabwe
By Paresh Soni

ICC World Twenty20 Group B, Cape Town:
England 188-9 (20 overs) bt Zimbabwe 138-7 (20 overs) by 50 runs

Kevin Pietersen
Pietersen launched several blistering left-handed shots
Kevin Pietersen and Dimitri Mascarenhas starred as England beat Zimbabwe by 50 runs in their World Twenty20 opener.

Pietersen blasted four sixes in his 79 off 37 balls as England totalled 188-9.

Vusi Sibanda (29) and Brendan Taylor (47) helped Zimbabwe, who stunned Australia by five wickets on Wednesday, ease to 74-0 before Mascarenhas struck.

He took 3-18 to spark a collapse, while Chris Schofield marked his return after seven years with 2-15, and an England win on Friday will knock Australia out.

It was a reality check for the Zimbabweans, who were cock-a-hoop on Wednesday after outclassing the Aussies in a stunning five-wicket triumph.

They were once again enthusiastic in the field and on top early on when Elton Chigumbura (4-31) saw Darren Maddy mis-time a booming drive to cover and Luke Wright edge his first ball behind trying to flay it away.

When Matt Prior (20) was caught trying to hit Tawanda Mupariwa over wide long-on for a second six, England were looking for some inspiration.

Pietersen showed he was the man to provide it by getting after Chigumbura in an over costing 17 runs and launching Prosper Utseya over the wide long-on fence.


Skipper Collingwood, who won the toss, joined in the fun by crashing Gary Brent over mid-wicket for another maxiumum before Pietersen came up with the real fireworks.

Three successive left-handed pulls and slog-sweeps off Keith Dabengwa disappeared in a flash and he followed those with another maximum over mid-wicket to make it 22 off the over.

When Collingwood lofted Justice Chibhabha over mid-wicket for six it looked grim for the underdogs but Pietersen was snaffled trying another left-handed pull and a good throw from the deep point boundary ran out the skipper.

The scoring slowed inevitably and Andrew Flintoff, passed fit after struggling with his left ankle against India, was twice dropped in the covers and slogged a six over wide long-on before being bowled by Chibhabha.

Brendan Taylor and Elton Chigumbura celebrate the dismissal of Luke Wright
Chigumbura again impressed but his team came up short this time

Owais Shah, Mascarenhas and Stuart Broad fell in the usual mayhem at the end and England had a few more headaches when Sibanda and Taylor set about their bowlers.

Broad and James Anderson struggled with their line and Taylor carted the latter over extra-cover for six as 32 were racked up in the first three overs.

Youngster Broad was punished when he pitched too short or full and three boundaries came in one over from him.

Mascarenhas, brought on to take the pace off the ball, was crashed over the mid-wicket rope with effortless ease by Taylor to add to England's concerns.

But Sibanda top-edged a pull, while Tatenda Taibu and Taylor were bowled swinging across the line to turn the situation around.

It would have been even better for Mascarenhas and England if Pietersen had held on to a dolly of a catch when Chibhbabha spooned the ball to him at mid-off.

But it was brief respite as Stuart Matsikenyeri holed out to Flintoff on the cover boundary off leg-spinner Schofield, who then took a return catch when Chibhabha chipped the ball back to him.

Chigumbura crashed Collingwood for six over long-on but was caught on the mid-wicket boundary in the same over.

And the game was well over as a contest by the time Masakadza, who had been given a reprieve by Collingwood, skied a catch to mid-wicket in the final over off Broad.

There is likely to be more of an edge to the proceedings when England take on their old foes at the same Newlands venue on Friday.

  • England captain Paul Collingwood:
    "It was a good win, I thought Zimbabwe played well. It was not a perfect peformance by any means but we came out and got the job done and got a good victory.

    "[Chris] Schofield and [Dimi] Mascarenhas turned the game in the middle of the innings after they had got off to a great start.

    "Hopefully we will come out tomorrow [against Australia] and put in a good performance. I'm sure they will want to bounce back."

  • Zimbabwe coach Robin Brown:
    "The slower bowlers did us. Against Australia we played straight down the ground to the quicker bowlers which helped us a lot.

    "We started off well with that 50 partnership early on set us on course and from then on we fell away when the slow bowlers came on and we tried to hit them across the line.

    "They did bowl well, we can't take that away from them, and we hope they bowl as well as that on Friday against the Australians."

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