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Page last updated at 19:44 GMT, Sunday, 7 June 2009 20:44 UK

Revitalised England beat Pakistan

ICC World Twenty20 Group B:
England 185-5 (20 overs) beat Pakistan 137-7 (20 overs) by 48 runs
Match scorecard

England's Kevin Pietersen

Highlights - England secure Super Eight spot

By Oliver Brett
BBC Sport at The Oval

England bounced back from their ignominious loss to the Netherlands with a 48-run win over Pakistan which guarantees their progress into the Super Eight phase of the ICC World Twenty20.

Vitally, Kevin Pietersen was passed fit to play despite his on-off Achilles difficulties and contributed a typically bombastic 58 off 38 balls with three sixes.

With all seven of England's required batsmen contributing boundaries, the hosts reached a total of 185-5. The target was by no means ungettable, but it was tough enough for Pakistan, who had entered the tournament with no great form behind them.

Younus Khan hit 46 not out of 31 balls, but his team finished limply on 137-7.

England outplayed Pakistan in every department, perhaps most noticeably in their fielding. Whereas their opponents dropped four catches and squandered runs through misfields and overthrows, England's performance in that area was almost flawless.

Ravi Bopara dropped an easy catch late in the day, but only because he had been dazzled by the excellent floodlights.

606: DEBATE
Whats that coming over the hill is it nemanja?

As for England's bowlers, all held their nerve admirably, despite some strict interpretation of the wide law by the umpires. Stuart Broad, in some people's eyes the villain of the piece at Lord's, was the pick with 3-17 from three hostile and accurate overs.

Pietersen replaced Rob Key, but England also dropped Eoin Morgan and Ryan Sidebottom from the team humbled by the Netherlands on Friday.

Graeme Swann and Dimitri Mascarenhas came into a team featuring 10 players who had bowled in international cricket before. With Adil Rashid retained, to some raised eyebrows, that meant England had two specialist spinners.

But it was England's batsmen, criticised for their conservative approach against the Dutch, who were the first to go under the microscope after Younus had won the toss.

Bopara, England's form player across all formats of the game, got England under way with a cut over point's head for four, but the second delivery of Mohammed Aamer's international career did for him.

Left-arm seamer Aamer, who has just turned 17, persuaded Bopara to spear a catch to backward point where Shoaib Malik took a good catch at head height, a couple of yards to his left.

Kevin Pietersen batting against Pakistan
Pietersen's return gave the entire England team a lift

England were in a bit of a pickle at 18-1 off 3.3 overs, whereupon Luke Wright cut loose in impressive fashion.

Aamer was hit over mid-off, pulled into the stands and edged past the wicketkeeper for 14 runs in three shots, before the batsman was the beneficiary of some appalling fielding by Umar Gul at third man, who let a ball trickle through his legs for four.

The next over, bowled by Yasir Arafat, was the one in which Pietersen went from first gear to overdrive, marmalising a chest-high full toss for four and smashing the next ball high into the pavilion.

That over cost 21, but Pakistan came back in the next, Gul flattening Wright's off-stump with a yorker. The Sussex man had made 34 from 16 balls, absolutely justifying his position.

Out came Pakistan's trio of slow bowlers, and gradually the run rate was slowed so that at the halfway point the total was 90-2, with Pietersen on 31 and Owais Shah 13.

Shah swept boundaries off Saeed Ajmal and Shahid Afridi, before Pietersen also went on the sweep, hitting Afridi for his second six.

Aamer swapped ends but was pummelled high over long-on for six by Shah, and carved over wide mid-off by Pietersen for the fifth maximum of the England innings.

Though Shah eventually fell to Gul, England were sitting pretty on 152 with seven wickets in hand going into the last four overs, after Paul Collingwood had been dropped at deep square-leg.

Paul Collingwood

England character pleases Collingwood (UK users only)

But Ajmal removed both Collingwood and then Pietersen, both men testing the catchers with miscued shots that disappeared high into the twilight. This time they made no mistake.

The 19th over, bowled by Afridi, featured a pulled four by Mascarenhas and a terrific back-foot six over long-off from Foster.

Gul speared in an admirable series of yorkers for the final set of six, but, courtesy of two overthrows and yet another dropped catch, Foster and Mascarenhas scrambled eight more precious runs.

Pakistan exited the six-over powerplay in a parlous state on 46-3, after Broad had picked up two wickets from as many deliveries - Mascarenhas getting it all going by removing Ahmed Shehzad.

The two crippling blows were those inflicted on Kamran Akmal and Salman Butt, who top-edged into the safe hands of Wright and Bopara respectably.

With the scorecard showing 46-3, it was time for England's two spinners to come into the contest, and keep the home side on top.

They did precisely that, bowling tightly against the talented duo of Younus and Malik, and when the required run rate reached 12 an over, Wright was brought into the attack.

He responded to the challenge well, immediately removing Malik who edged a catch behind.

Afridi was next to the crease, and Pakistan's last hope was a vintage display of six-hitting from him, something that has become a rarity. It did not come off, Swann having him comfortably caught at long-on.

One of the most boisterous crowds ever seen at a match in England began to relax, the sizeable Pakistan-supporting contingent now resigned to defeat.

And when Misbah-ul-Haq gave substitute fielder Morgan his second catch, some began heading to the turnstiles.

Broad returned to take the last wicket of the night, and England go through on the basis that they end the group phase with two points and a positive run rate.

Pakistan and the Netherlands face off on Tuesday and a Pakistan win would leave all three teams level on points - but if Pakistan win, it would be impossible for both them and the Dutch to better England's net run rate.



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see also
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Jonathan Agnew column
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ICC World Twenty20 2009 results
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ICC World Twenty20 squads
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