2150: BREAKING NEWS
Kevin Pietersen will fly home and return 24 hours before the semi-finals to attend the birth of his first child, if it happens while he is in England.
The man of the match is Kevin Pietersen:
"It's nice to be in a team where you have to improve because the guys can hit sixes from one to 10. It's a much better wicket to bat on [than Guyana]."
Graeme Smith is "yah, just very disappointed".
Here's Paul Collingwood:
"There's a lot of English people in here, we wanted to put up a good performance, and we did that. It's exciting, the guys are hitting the ball as well as I've seen, but we've got to keep our feet on the ground."
So, just to confirm, England's victory almost ensures a berth in the semi-finals. They would have to be royally thrashed by New Zealand in St Lucia not to go through, and even that will be academic if Pakistan beat South Africa in the earlier match on Monday. Actually Pakistan owe England a favour. Pietersen and co have kept them alive with their win just now.
19 overs - WICKET - SA 129 all out - Morkel b Sidebottom 1 - ENGLAND WIN BY 39 RUNS
And that, ladies and gentlemen, will do it. Morkel bowled by a yorker, 3-23 for him.
18.1 overs - WICKET - SA 126-9 - Botha c&b Sidebottom 12
A good, low catch from Sidebottom off his own bowling. England doing little wrong, and marching to a comprehensive victory.
17.5 overs - WICKET - SA 125-8 - Steyn c Morgan b Broad 5
We're into the final gasps of this rather fruitless run chase, but the wickets keep on coming, and that's a second catch for Morgan. Steyn was rubbish with the ball today, but can't be expected to bat his team to victory.
Michael Vaughan on TMS:
"If Jess [Kevin Pietersen's pregnant wife] can hold on for another week or so, then England have got a huge chance of going to the final. So Jess, hold on lovely."
17th over - SA 122-7 (TARGET 169)
Botha clubs a six off Sidebottom but gets nothing from a yorker next up. Steyn edges three off the last ball of the over.
16.1 overs - WICKET - SA 111-7 - Duminy c Yardy b Sidebottom 39 (TARGET 169)
I think we can say Sidebottom has booked his place in the semi-finals (assuming England do get there). Hundreds of people have slagged him off but that's an accurate slower-ball bouncer to Duminy, who can only chip a catch to short fine-leg. A really good innings comes to an end.
16th over - SA 111-6 (TARGET 169)
While Duminy is at the crease, England can't quite relax. A four off the first ball, four leg-byes (despite a huge appeal for lbw) off the next one, a bad throw from Morgan gives him two off the third ball - otherwise he was run out - and after a few singles the dust settles on an over worth 13. But South Africa need 14 an over.
15th over - SA 98-6 (TARGET 169)
We welcome Ryan of Sidebottom back into the attack, and this is a good situation for the hirsute one to return to. It's a good over too, just four runs off the bat plus a leg-bye and a bye. Kieswetter's keeping is a bit loose in general.
13.3 overs - WICKET - SA 90-6 - Boucher c Morgan b Swann 9 (TARGET 169)
Duminy clubs his second down-the-ground six, but two balls later he loses his partner as Boucher is coolly caught by Morgan at deep midwicket. Three wickets for Swanny.
From Stephen (Englishman living in Alaska), TMS inbox:
"My folks are due to fly in today to spend some time with us...and the bloomin' volcano strikes again...leaving a disappointed son and grandson...but I tells ya, England actually knowing how to play 20/20 is lifting the Icelandic-generated gloom a little...COME ON! "
13th over - SA 83-5 (TARGET 169)
Yardy is spoiling his good start, as Kieswetter cannot take a fast, wide one down the leg-side and that's two runs picked up. Duminy bottom-edges the sweep for four, and there's a missed stumping from Kieswetter against Boucher.
12th over - SA 73-5 (TARGET 169)
Better over from England here, from Swann. Boucher is not prepared to take undue risks yet, and that will suit England.
11th over - SA 67-5 (TARGET 169)
Needing more than 11 an over, it's sixes or bust surely. Duminy connects with a booming straight drive, and that is indeed a six, and a big one at that. Singles and a two either side of that, now Yardy is really darting in some quick ones. Good over, finally, for South Africa.
9.5 overs - WICKET - SA 53-5 - De Villiers c Collingwood b Swann 5 (TARGET 169)
I told you De Villiers was out of form. A top-edged sweep lobs up to Collingwood, and South Africa are on course for a thumping defeat unless Duminy plays like Trumper or Tendulkar or something.
From Neil, TMS inbox:
"Sitting in St Maarten in the Caribbean. A Dutch island, couldn't find anywhere showing the cricket. Went to a sports bar run by an American who responded to the polite question 'Are you showing the Twenty20 cricket? with 'What the hell is that?' So it was back to the computer to follow the text commentary. "
8.2 overs - WICKET - SA 46-4 - Morkel b Yardy 0 (TARGET 169)
I am not sure Yardy ever bowls as well as this for Sussex. There's another wicket, Morkel playing all around a ball turning gently in between bat and pad, and he's bowled.
7.4 overs - WICKET - SA 44-3 - Smith c Lumb b Swann 19 (TARGET 169)
Smith bottom-edges for a lucky boundary but the luck runs out when he picks out Lumb at deep midwicket. Very easy catch, and serious problems for South Africa.
From Chris, Afghanistan, TMS inbox:
"I'm watching the text commentary whilst on night shift with my Canadian counterparts trying to explain to them how cricket isn't a boring sport, so I'm hoping the game will be very tight with an England win to prove it."
7th over - SA 38-2 (TARGET 169)
De Villiers is the next cab off the Proteas' rank, and he isn't in the greatest of form if memory serves. Smith is 14 off 19 balls as he faces Yardy's last ball, and only grabs a single off it.
6.1 overs - WICKET - SA 34-2 - Gibbs c Sidebottom b Yardy 8 (TARGET 169)
Yardy strikes with his first ball, a top-edged sweep by Gibbs floating over Sidebottom's head, but he turns and pulls off a stunning catch!
6th over - SA 34-1 (TARGET 169)
South Africa need a special over or two, and Gibbs pulls just
over midwicket for four. Bresnan won't serve up many freebies. Dreadful running by South Africa as they don't even look for a possible second run but nine an over's not a bad result all told.
5th over - SA 25-1 (TARGET 169)
Gibbs leaves his first ball, and then misses an attempted pull. A single off the next and the asking rate is nudging 10 an over already. Beamer and a no-ball against Smith. Free hit as it was a front-foot no-ball too, and that sails for four over square leg.
4.1 overs - WICKET - SA 19-1 - Kallis c Pietersen b Broad 11
And what does pressure do? England have started really well with the ball, and Kallis, knowing he has to try something different, gets an attempted lofted drive off Broad completely wrong. Easy catch for Pietersen.
4th over - SA 19-0 (TARGET 169)
Bresnan is bowling to a plan against Smith, and it's working. Now a bouncer tickles Kallis in the ribs. Pressure building for the batting side.
3rd over - SA 16-0 (TARGET 169)
England did well with the short ball against Pakistan, but this wicket is not quite as fast as Thursday's and Broad's opening delivery is pulled hard into the stands by Kallis. There's almost a run-out off a sharp single next, and then Kieswetter fumbles to allow a bye. Smith is almost bowled by Broad off the last ball, missed the top of leg stump by an inch or two.
2nd over - SA 7-0 (TARGET 169)
Bresnan is bowling the second over, so it's two Yorkshiremen sharing the new ball (and to think they're leading the Championship without either right now.) A tight line and some good fielding, with two men saving a single behind square on the leg side, keep Smith quiet for four balls, but he gets one off the fifth. Kallis is almost caught last ball, but scrambles a single.
1st over - SA 5-0 (TARGET 169)
Sidebottom's line is all wrong for his first two balls, and it's easy for Smith to nudge him away for two, which he does twice. A single this time brings Kallis on strike. Gibbs rather feels for one outside off-stump, which he misses. Pakistan are hanging around watching this one. They desperately need an England win here.
From fabuniquemembername on 606:
"Too close to call. Big target on this pitch, but England aren't exactly stacked with world-class bowlers. I'm tipping a lot of wides, which won't help the cause."
From Riad, Manchester, TMS inbox:
"Not a bad score for England after those hiccups in the middle overs. SA needs to bat really well to overcome this score. Swann would be the key. I would put my money on England." I agree with you, Riad. Swann should bowl well given the problems Botha caused England.
20th over - Eng 168-7
Inventive from Yardy, stepping miles outside off-stump to flick Morkel past short fine-leg for four, and the ball crashes into the England dugout. Just a single from the last ball, will that total be enough. They started so well, but fell away in the third quarter of their innings a little bit.
19.3 overs - WICKET - Eng 162-7 - Bresnan b Morkel 13
Yardy gets a single off Morkel, they scamper a bye off the second, and it's a no-ball because somebody was fielding in the wrong place. Bresnan is bowled off the fourth ball. Took his eyes off it.
19th over - Eng 158-6
England looking for about 170, and Bresnan still hasn't hit a boundary. Oh he has now, high over extra cover as Langeveldt gets his line wrong.
18.1 overs - WICKET - Eng 148-6 - Morgan c De Villiers b Langeveldt 21
A bit unlucky for Morgan who hits Langeveldt hard and high but into the stiff breeze and the ball holds up enough for De Villiers to take a very good catch.
18th over - Eng 148-5
Steyn has been absolutely slaughtered today, his leg-stump full toss despatched by Morgan for four. Not so easy for Bresnan, who takes three runs off the four balls he faces in this over, but again Morgan steals the bowling with a single at the end of the over. Steyn 0-50 in his four overs - ouch.
17th over - Eng 139-5
Langeveldt does really well in his third over, but Morgan will be back in strike to face the 18th.
16.1 overs - WICKET - Eng 137-5 - Wright b Langeveldt 0
Inswinging yorker. Good ball from Langeveldt, and that's the end of Luke Wright.
16th over - Eng 137-4
Morgan sometimes bats like Graham Thorpe. He's very good at placement, and twice hits Steyn for a couple. Great take by Boucher prevents one wide from being five wides. Now Steyn's slower ball is also wided. Two more for Morgan, and now he clips Steyn off his toes beautifully for four.
14.4 overs - WICKET - Eng 124-4 - Collingwood c Boucher b Morkel 14
Andy Flower's batting expertise is seriously paying off on this England side now. Collingwood skips down the track to Morkel to hit one six, but in his attempt to hit another holes out to Boucher. It's all sixes and dots for England, they could really do with a few more ones and twos to be hyper-critical.
14th over - Eng 118-3
There's a confident lad. Eoin Morgan brings out the reverse-sweep to his second ball faced to collect a boundary off Duminy.
13.3 overs - WICKET - Eng 113-3 - Kieswetter c Steyn b Botha 41
The pacemen have let Smith down, so he is forced to turn to Duminy's part-time spin. His first ball is short enough for Kieswetter to thump over the rope at deep square-leg for six, but the third hangs in the air too long and Steyn takes the catch at long-on.
13th over - Eng 108-2
England need Kieswetter to step on the gas now, but he is really struggling to either pick the gaps or hit the big shots. Slowly but surely South Africa are getting back into this match. Good afternoon Jacques, says Colly, with a village blacksmith six over wide long-on.
12th over - Eng 100-2
Skipper Paul Collingwood isn't in the best of form; this is a great time to find it. Amid the carnage, Botha finishes his four overs with 2-15. Fine effort.
11.1 overs - WICKET - Eng 98-2 - Pietersen c Smith b Botha 53
Pietersen needed 30 balls for his half-century, but he's gone now, caught by Graeme Smith at short fine-leg off Botha who has been easily the best bowler in this match so far.
11th over - Eng 98-1
Steyn is back, and Pietersen likes pace in this sort of mood. He backs away to drive him through the covers, then muscles a short one out of the ground for six, then gets the length ball again which is flicked over midwicket for four more. Wonderful play from a terrific batsman.
From Nathan, in Exeter, via text:
"Never seen England batting with so much freedom! Long may it continue!"
10th over - DROPPED CATCH - Eng 82-1
Kieswetter is badly, badly dropped by JP Duminy at deep midwicket off Botha. Both England batsmen are losing their timing I think. Still very well placed all things considered.
9th over - Eng 77-1
Kallis and Botha have done a pretty good job here of reining in an England run-rate that was getting out of hand. Aggers on air has to apologise after some colourful language from an England batsman is picked up by a sensitive stump microphone. The over-rate is sluggish by the way.
From Nick, Cardiff, TMS inbox:
"Can I ask Gary from Market Harborough if he's chosen a South African wine? Ordinarily (or maybe that should be vin ordinaire-ily?) I would concur, but tonight, it's gotta be English - or even, Welsh - wine. Cheers!"
8th over - Eng 73-1
The spinner Botha is back, and Kieswetter takes a single off the third ball. Pietersen - "batting like a thrashing machine" - according to Aggers - gets lucky when he skies one into the off-side and it lands safely.
From Chris, Haywards Heath, TMS inbox:
"Following cricket as printing and fold 100 order of services for wedding next weekend. England's good start certainly helping to ease the monotony!!! Hoping KP gets a big one."
7th over - Eng 69-1
Maybe Jacques Kallis can stop the rot for South Africa. With the fielding restraints lifted it should be a little easier. Kieswetter misses Kallis's bouncer but the scoreboard's still moving.
6th over - Eng 65-1
Kieswetter can defy logic with his hitting just like Pietersen, you know. Backing away to leg, he somehow hits a short one a mile over mid-off's head for six. Kieswetter does a Mal Loye sweep off Langeveldt now, so that'll be four more. Can England keep this going? It's certainly entertaining. Langeveldt just short of ideal pace for this track is comfortably larruped over point for four more by Kieswetter.
5th over - Eng 49-1
Not many people can pull fast bowlers for four having advanced down the wicket to them. Not many people are called Kevin Peter Pietersen (not the most imaginative middle name was it). Now he brings out another pull for four more, staying in the crease this time. He loves this Barbados wicket and Morkel is bleeding here. Kieswetter gets a leg-stump full toss, but fails to cash in, taking the bowling with a single.
4th over - Eng 37-1
A fourth bowler in the fourth over, it's Charl Langeveldt, and it's rather less frenetic. England are, all the same, helped out by a bouncer which flies over Boucher's head for five wides.
From Gary, Market Harborough, TMS inbox:
"No chance of watching this match on telly as Dorothy is coming on! I suggested a cricket/Dorothy coalition but it was rejected out of hand. So another night on the computer with a bottle of wine and crisps."
3rd over - DROPPED CATCH - Eng 30-1
Well Pietersen looks in awesome form already. He's expecting Morne Morkel to bowl short, and the bowler obliges with KP in position to pull for a magnificent boundary. Game on. Kieswetter is caught at third man - off a no-ball! - the second of the over. Pietersen makes no contact with the free hit, and the next ball Mark Boucher is motionless as the edge flies a yard to his right. Dreadful wicketkeeping, four more for England.
2nd over - Eng 17-1
Now for something about 100 times faster, Dale Steyn. Kieswetter is beaten by the first one, but a delightful cover-drive brings him England's first boundary. Lumb is already chuntering away about what happened to Paul Collingwood even while Pietersen hits straight and hard past mid-on for another boundary. No bouncers yet from Steyn, expect plenty from England. Pietersen plays a one-legged shot, pure eyes-and-hands shot that, through the odd-side for four. Remarkable batsmanship, but why is Steyn bowling a good length?
0.5 overs - WICKET - Lumb lbw Botha 3 - Eng 4-1
Johan Botha, the off-spinner, bowls the first over. Lumb and Kieswetter hit each of the first two balls for singles. Lumb sweeps for a couple, better contact and that would have been a four, but then he is trapped in several minds and is lbw. Kevin Pietersen survives another big lbw off the final ball. Not a good start for England.
Apologies - my last entry had the wrong time. Please refresh your browser to avoid confusion.
Just five minutes to go before England begin their innings, knowing a win would virtually guarantee a semi-final spot while a loss would not be disastrous. South Africa, if they win, will definitely go through and Pakistan will be out.
From Luke, a flabbergasted England fan, in Durham, via text:
"Sidebottom - can't bat nor field, can hardly bowl in pressure situations. Anderson fantastic outfielder and a much better bowler. It's a no brainer for him to play to everyone apart from the English camp!" For what it's worth Luke, I'm actually with the selectors on this one, just...
From Dangerous Marsupial on 606:
"The good news for England is that while South Africa's bowling is very, very good, de Villiers, Duminy and Gibbs are in fairly poor form and Kallis isn't a particularly dangerous opener. I hope Bresnan doesn't get spanked as his bowling isn't that great."
From Ryan, central London, TMS inbox:
"Can't help thinking that this game depends on how the South Africans in the top three handle the South African bowlers. If the pride of Ireland can come in with a good foundation then this match should be England's."
From Des, Kildare, TMS inbox:
"I have to admit you got a bit lucky in saying that Razzaq's dismissal would be good enough for an NZ victory." Not lucky, Des, I just made a call and was proved right!
Cricket journalist Stephen Brenkley on TMS:
"I think Pietersen would regret it forever if he missed the birth of his child. Babies don't wait for cricket tournaments to finish. But he did cut down his options on missing this tournament by agreeing to play in the Indian Premier League."
So while we wait for Steyn and co to tear into Craig Kieswetter and Michael Lumb, news from the County Championship that
Middlesex have beaten Sussex by three wickets
thanks to an unbeaten century from that talented young batsman Dawid Malan.
England beat South Africa in the warm-ups, but on that occasion there was no Dale Steyn in the side. There is now, and he is probably the most dangerous South African bowler by some distance on a wicket like this. South Africa are unchanged from the side who comfortably beat New Zealand last time.
It's time to switch the focus to England v South Africa , so please manually refresh the page. England have won the toss and will bat first.
Once again, they are unchanged - "We all know what the plans are," says skipper Paul Collingwood.
Well, that was pretty darned exciting, wasn't it? Having had a look at the group table, it seems the only way Pakistan could still have a chance of reaching the semi-finals after today is for England to beat South Africa in the second match.
20th over - Pakistan 132-8 (TARGET 134) - Rehman c Guptill b Butler 2 - NEW ZEALAND WIN BY ONE RUN
Butt's wild swipe connects with fresh air from the first ball of the final over, bowled by Butler. But the next is sliced through the vacant gully for four. Butler comes back with another dot ball, but Butt makes contact with the fourth, and finds the rope at deep point again. Three needed from two. They run a bye but that leaves Rehman needing to hit the last ball for at least two. And he's caught at deep square-leg off the final ball! A lifeline for New Zealand.
19th over - Pakistan 123-6 (TARGET 134)
Butt waits on a slower ball from Mills, and pummels it into the stands behind the man at long-off. Fantastic strike. But he's off strike with a single off the second ball and what can Rehman do? Styris in the action now as Rehman goes for a suicidal single, but the throw misses and he's safe. Two more singles come Pakistan's way and with 12 wanted from seven balls Butt picks up one more to take the bowling.
18th over - Pakistan 111-6 (TARGET 134)
Butt's single gives him a half-century off 45 balls.
17.5 overs - WICKET - Pakistan 111-6 - Razzaq c Taylor b McCullum 29 (TARGET 134)
We've got a really exciting finish in the offing, folks. An appeal for a stumping is referred to the third umpire, but Razzaq is safe. Now McCullum has Razzaq caught in the deep on the leg side, and that, I think, will be good enough for a New Zealand victory.
17th over - Pakistan 108-5 (TARGET 134)
Pressure back on New Zealand as three slower balls completely do for Razzaq. The next one's a bit faster, but Razzaq can't hit that one either. Would you believe this? He's only gone and smashed the last one from way outside off-stump high over long-on for a huge six, 93 metres apparently. How do they measure them?
From Sportsfan87 on 606:
"England should book thier place in the semis later on, even if NZ win this. Assuming England win later on, NZ would have to win big against England and SA would have to beat Pakistan for England to go out unless I am mistaken. England's NRR is good enough that a win tonight should see them through."
16th over - Pakistan 101-5 (TARGET 134)
Butler at deep square-leg is made to look very foolish as Butt's sweep spins past him to the boundary. Butt mistimes a pull off McCullum, but three singles are efficiently scampered and the destiny of this game is balancing on the edge of a very sharp object.
15th over - Pakistan 94-5 (TARGET 134)
Asif Iqbal told my colleague Ben Dirs that Razzaq was one of Pakistan's most dangerous batsman and here he proves the point, with a six and a four off Vettori. And there's another six off the last ball, elegant footwork, and a big drive planted wide of long-on!
14th over - Pakistan 78-5 (TARGET 134)
Sad news comes my way that the mighty Mariners (Grimsby) have been relegated from the football league. But I am glad to see Leeds back up to the Championship. Meanwhile in Barbados, McCullum gets through a very tight over and Pakistan need more than nine runs an over to win now.
13th over - Pakistan 74-5 (TARGET 134)
Butt responds to my plea for a boundary by smashing a pull shot well in front of square off Bond for four. One more wicket in the next five overs and I think New Zealand will win - there's a long Pakistan tail.
12th over - Pakistan 66-5 (TARGET 134)
Plenty of turn for the off-spinner McCullum as the required rate slips past eight an over. It's been a long time since the last boundary.
Rameez Raja on TMS:
"Some of these batsmen do not have the technique to survive on bouncy tracks."
11th over - Pakistan 62-5 (TARGET 134)
Well it could be Butt or bust now for Pakistan. He and Razzaq are the batsmen out there as Vettori gets through another tight over.
10th over - Pakistan 59-4 (TARGET 134)
We are seeing a replay of that McCullum catch, and there appears to be some doubt to whether it was a clean take. Hmm, I don't know. I reckon it's probably just
OK, but my goodness that's a key wicket.
9.4 overs - WICKET - Pakistan 58-5 - Afridi c N McCullum b Butler 11 (TARGET 134)
This partnership could be the key one for Pakistan, and Afridi and Butt have decided to do nothing silly for the time being. I spoke too soon. Butler strikes, Afridi pulling and Nathan McCullum diving forward full-length to take an excellent catch.
8th over - Pakistan 55-4 (TARGET 134)
South Africa are in the nets, and England are watching the action in the middle, probably favouring a Pakistan victory as then they will be the first team through to the semi-finals if they then beat South Africa later this evening. As for the live cricket, Vettori is bowling his second over, and Pakistan accrue four singles and a two.
7th over - Pakistan 49-4 (TARGET 134)
Cometh the hour, cometh Afridi. The umpiring has not been out of the top drawer in this match and it appears Ian Gould missed a Misbah inside edge on that lbw decision. Afridi off the mark with a single, and when he returns to the strike he edges the bowler intentionally through an empty slip cordon for four.
7.1 overs - WICKET - Pakistan 42-4 - Misbah-ul-Haq lbw b Butler 3 (TARGET 134)
Butler jags one back at Misbah's pads and that's lbw. A tortuous innings from Misbah comes to an end, and Rameez Raja on air suggests it's time to drop Misbah from the Pakistan side.
7th over - Pakistan 42-3 (TARGET 134)
Uh-oh, some really poor fielding from Styris at third man sees Pakistan get a bonus boundary. Vettori is the bowler by the way as Butt's boundary takes him to 22.
6th over - Pakistan 35-3 (TARGET 134)
Umpire Gould is totally unmoved as Hopkins appeals for a catch at the wicket off Butt. Mills stoops low to have a word with Butt, but the batsman pulls the next ball for four. Now the batsman is beaten outside off. Interesting contest. The last ball is flayed over point for four more and I suggest Mills will be brought off now.
5th over - Pakistan 27-3 (TARGET 134)
Ian Butler, a yeoman of the game who has been in and out of New Zealand's side for some time, is into the attack. On TMS, Ian Chappell says he's a confidence player. "Teams that know that target him early," says the Australian commentator. Misbah is in the mood to play himself in, and the tall Butler settles in nicely with a valuable maiden.
4th over - Pakistan 27-3 (TARGET 134)
So New Zealand right back in the game with three early wickets, and Mills is warming to his task. Misbah and Butt have much to do.
4.2 overs - WICKET - Pakistan 25-3 - Umar Akmal c Hopkins b Mills 0 (TARGET 134)
Bounce, and plenty of it, from Mills on a wicket that seems to be quickening up. Umar Akmal, drawn fatally to the ball like a bee to a pot of honey edges and it's another easy catch for Hopkins.
3rd over - WICKET - Pakistan 24-2 - Hafeez c Hopkins b Bond 8 (TARGET 134)
Hafeez can't reach an attempted drive off Bond, but Doctrove elects not to rule that a wide. The bowler got lucky there. Hafeez plays a rather odd front-foot pull off Bond which somehow scuttles back past the umpire for four. A leg-glance, a more orthodox blow at that, brings four more. But now it's the outswinger, and Hafeez edges - and he's gone!
2nd over - WICKET - Pakistan 15-1 - Akmal b Mills 5 (TARGET 134)
Kyle Mills it is, and someone's had a word with Pakistan's openers because they are patience personified at the moment. A marginal wide, and now there's a front-foot no-ball, the first of the game. Ian Gould signals the free hit, Butt drives through the covers for four. But Mills bowls Akmal with the final ball, the batsman inside-edging his drive.
From Ian, Barcelona, TMS inbox:
"Looking at the comments on the pitch and, apart from Anderson for Sidebottom, how about Tredwell instead of Bresnan? Sometimes, England seem unable to vary from Plan A and, a little in the manner of an oil tanker, find it easier to go straight on than strike out in a new direction. It doesn't mean that Bresnan wouldn't come back against NZ, just that, for this game, a different tactic is called for."
1st over - Pakistan 4-0 (TARGET 134)
Those fireworks are still in the box for now. After four runs from the first four balls, Akmal is beaten outside off-stump. Great fielding from the last ball by Nathan McCullum. Good start from Mr Bond.
Shane Bond in to Kamran Akmal. Expect some fireworks!
From Simon, Milton Keynes, TMS inbox:
"It seems Mr Cook has spent a bit of time in the area recently. I saw him a couple of weeks ago working on a lambing farm for his girlfriend's dad. I did talk to him. All I can say is, I hope he knows more about field placings than he does lambs. Not much of a clue."
20th over - NZ 133-7
Aha! There's a huge six from McCullum - see it's not that hard after all.
19.5 overs - WICKET - Vettori run out 38 - NZ 127-7
Too much gym work, not enough runs for Essex in my view from Mr Cook (see below). Anyway, in Barbados, Ajmal is bowling the final over. McCullum misses with two horrid swipes at doosras, and Vettori is run out as New Zealand look for a non-existent second to long-off.
From Adam, Grafton Regis, TMS inbox:
"I've just been to my local gym in Milton Keynes and who should walk in on his own but Alastair Cook. So many questions went through my mind, should I congratulate him on the tour of Bangladesh? Should I ask him why he's in Milton Keynes of all places? Being a Yorkshireman should I ask if he was there because Yorkshire were kind enough to give him a day off earlier in the week? Perhaps most importantly should I ask if he had to pay to get in or is it a perk for an England player? In the end I said nothing, watched his regime and he left"
19th over - NZ 122-6
Aamer is back, the left-arm paceman. Another hideous shot from Vettori lands safely - he's got his best score in international T20s by the way - then we have a no-ball for too many bouncers in the over (but no free hit). Vettori to 35 with another cross-the-line swipe and Michael Vaughan spots that he's struggling with some sort of muscular complaint. McCullum drives sweetly, at fresh air, then picks up another couple. "We haven't consistently seen the ball timed today," says Michael Vaughan. HUGE appeal for a catch behind. Not out.
18th over - NZ 114-6
Vettori appears to be losing his timing over the course of this innings, if such a thing is possible. McCullum off the mark with a single off Ajmal, Vettori comes down the wicket but it's a dot. Now he stays in his crease and smears one over cow-corner for six. Last ball of the over... Awful running, or Vettori wanting to keep the strike, means it's just one when it might have been two.
17th over - NZ 105-6
Here's Nathan McCullum in at eight. I think he should have batted much higher. He's a much better striker of the ball than Hopkins isn't he?
16.3 overs - WICKET - Hopkins c Rehman b Afridi 2 - NZ 104-6
Nothing's really working for New Zealand, here's a pull from Hopkins that flies comfortably to deep midwicket. Afridi strikes again!
From wanz89 on 606:
"this time last year it took a magnificent victory against New Zealand for the Pakistanis to get going... hopefully we have a bit of the same this time around"
16th over - NZ 103-5
Lots of spin from Pakistan today, and why not? Ajmal is a whisker away from bowling Vettori, who scampers a couple off the next ball. The New Zealand skipper is struggling a bit now, but credit to Pakistan's bowlers. A really ugly swipe from Vettori gets him a single - he's lucky not to be caught - and Hopkins can't clear cover off the last ball.
15th over - NZ 99-5
Hopkins gets a single off the last ball of the over.
14.4 overs - WICKET - Styris b Afridi 21 - NZ 98-5
New Zealand need a big final six overs, and Styris appreciates it's time to attack. Afridi disappears over long-off for six, and now he's carted through the on-side for four, but Afridi's got his man this time, Styris chopping onto his stumps.
14th over - NZ 88-4
Ajmal, the fourth spinner into the attack but arguably Pakistan's best, bowls his first over. Vettori and Styris treat his off-breaks with enormous respect.
From Amir Mir on 606:
"Umar Akmal has shown since his debut that he is a rising star. But, the key for me is, he has shown he is a very good fielder, very eager to field which is always good. How about making him wicket-keeper? His brother's useless!"
13th over - NZ 85-4
I think it would be fair to say the crowd are not exactly lapping up the action. Vettori gets down the track to Afridi and gets the lofted drive out for a nice straight six, the first of the innings. The crowd murmurs its approval, but the batsmen will have to do more to get them going.
12th over - NZ 74-4
Fine shot from Vettori, a perfectly executed, perfectly placed sweep off Hafeez scudding across the turf for four. Styris will appreciate having some time to get his eye in, and pushes down the ground for one in between a couple of Vettori singles.
11th over - NZ 67-4
Massive appeal for lbw as Afridi comes into the attack right now with his fast leg-breaks. Styris gets the googly and gets the benefit of the doubt. He might have been lucky there, but even so progress remains a bit slow.
10th over - NZ 61-4
So it's down to a very experienced duo, Dan Vettori and Scotty Styris, to get New Zealand out of a deepening hole. You'd want to be in Pakistan's shoes right now.
9.2 overs - WICKET - Taylor c Kamran Akmal b Sami 3 - NZ 58-4
Afridi on the attack with pace now, as he sends for Sami. Good captaincy, Taylor going for the big drive at the outswinger and getting only a thin edge through to the wicketkeeper. Simon Doull on TMS suggests that's a poor decision, though.
9th over - NZ 57-3
Vettori has come in at number five, that's an interesting move. His team are up against it.
8.3 overs - WICKET - B McCullum c Sami b Rehman 33 - NZ 55-3
Some sloppy fielding by two separate Pakistan fielders - they've been excellent so far - gives McCullum a double off Rehman, and there's the slog-sweep from McCullum for a welcome boundary, moving him to 33, but an attempted repeat flies straight to Sami at deep backward square-leg. Big moment for Pakistan!
8th over - NZ 49-2
McCullum is absolutely key to New Zealand's chances from here, but neither he nor Taylor are ready to take on the Pakistan spinners right now. This wicket has definitely been neutralised, perhaps a bit too much, but it's a fine line for the groundsman. Can't have it too dry and unpredictable.
7th over - NZ 46-2
Taylor is the man in at four for New Zealand, who are in a little bit of bother now. Rehman is bowling pretty accurately, just five singles in the over.
From Mark Elliott, TMS inbox:
"Relying on the online commentary for the game tonight here in Muscat. Just moved house, got my old satellite dish up and running, paid my subs for the next 6 months only to find out that the cricket is been scrambled as the hotels in the region are showing it without paying their dues. Worse was to come - the satellite is getting shut down at the end of the month. Anybody want to buy 5½ months subscription? If no takers I try e-bay."
6.1 overs - WICKET - Guptill c Umar b Rehman 2 - NZ 41-2
Odd stuff from Guptill, who was not prepared to hit over the infield in the last two overs. So he waits for the first ball with the fielding restrictions lifted to try to clear long-on, and fails. Great catch by Umar Akmal diving forward.
6th over - NZ 41-0
Hafeez, the off-spinner with a stutter midway through his run-up, keeps Guptill restrained, beating him outside off-stump with his fifth delivery. The last ball is a rushed single. Guptill under some pressure here.
5th over - NZ 40-0
I've not seen much of this slow left-armer Abdur Rehman who's into the attack now. Not a bad start from him, cautious stuff from the two Kiwi right-handers who are also probably unfamiliar with Rehman. Oh that changes things, McCullum whacks a leg-stump offering to the rope for his fourth boundary.
From William, Chatteris, TMS inbox:
"Alright Oliver? I'm also surprised at Oram's absence. I suppose the reasoning is that Mills is a bit quicker and would offer more considering the bouncy pitches we've seen here so far. New Zealand's batting hasn't really fired in this tournament so far though, so they could miss Oram's big hitting. Hopefully we'll see a closer contest here than we have done in the last few games..."
4th over - NZ 34-1
The new batsman is Martin Guptill, who safely negotiates the last ball of the over.
3.5 overs - WICKET - Ryder c Rehman b Sami 7 - NZ 34-1
McCullum completely mistimes a drive down the ground off Sami, but there's enough bat on it to collect a boundary. A short-ball is cut away with ease for a second four. Ryder's not found his range yet, and there we go, he's shovelled one straight to square leg. Easy catch for the fielder there.
3rd over - NZ 25-0
Ryder misses out on a leg-stump half-volley that should have been put away for four, and now the big left-hander mistimes a flick that just clears mid-on's head and trickles away for a single. The multi-talented Aamer gives up a single to McCullum and Ryder takes a couple off the last ball.
2nd over - NZ 20-0
McCullum rocks back to cut a bad ball from Sami well in front of cover for four and the next ball is a bit Harmison '06 as it flies down the leg-side for five wides. The men in black move their score along with a leg-bye and Sami hurls down another wide. Eight runs in wides already.
1st over - NZ 7-0
Aamer opens up with a wide, then we have a couple of dot balls outside the off-stump. Huge appeal for lbw as a delivery cuts back off the wicket into the right-handed McCullum but umpire Doctrove says not out. McCullum off the mark with a single off a full-toss and after another wide Jesse Ryder is off the mark with a mighty tonk over square leg for four.
We're under way, Mohammad Aamer to bowl to Brendon McCullum.
Please get involved. You can email email@example.com (with "For Oliver Brett" in the subject line), use 606 or text 81111 (in the UK) or +44 7786200666 (worldwide). Really important today - if you're texting, you really must put "CRICKET" as the first word of your message - lots of other sport going on.
From Robbo277 on 606:
"If Pakistan and England win today, England are definitely through. The worst situation today would be South Africa and New Zealand wins, as that would effectively leave us with a quarter-final against New Zealand, and I'm not sure how well we'd fare."
Jonathan Agnew on TMS: "Players on the way out, clutching their mascots. Silence falls over Kensington and we'll be hearing the national anthems now."
For the time being, we'll be focusing squarely on New Zealand v Pakistan. Michael Vaughan, on TMS, informs us that the wicket has been watered recently and may not provide the bounce of the last two days. That would be a bit of a shame.
I don't expect England to make changes to their side, by the way, though some will doubtless be surprised to see James Anderson carrying the drinks again. As far as we know Jess Pietersen has not gone into labour yet.
Just a reminder that England will take on South Africa, who they beat in a warm-up from 1830 BST, and we'll be reporting on that game in detail too.
If you haven't seen any of the Super Eight matches in Barbados, I can report that the pitches are superb - so far they have really suited spicy fast-bowling, high-quality spin, and powerful straight hitting. Unfortunately we have had four one-sided games as in each case one team has adapted to conditions well, while the other has quickly floundered.
1410: Mohammad Sami
and Abdur Rehman,
a left-arm spinner, in for Mohammad Asif and Fawad Alam are the two Pakistan changes. New Zealand have brought in Ian Butler
and Kyle Mills,
with Tim Southee and Jacob Oram dropping out. Oram out? The big-hitting all-rounder? That's a bold move in my opinion.
There are two changes for either side - I'll bring you further details in a moment or two.
Pakistan win the toss and bowl first in Barbados. That makes sense, they did a poor job of batting first against England on Thursday.
Hello, and a warm welcome to the third day of action in the ICC World Twenty20 Super Eights. First up we have New Zealand v Pakistan, with England taking on South Africa later. In this first match, the resourceful Kiwis know that a defeat will leave their hopes of making the semi-finals hanging by a thread. Exactly the same situation applies to Shahid Afridi's Pakistan, the defending champions.