Pietersen paces England to victory

Sat, 29 Oct 17:15:52 2011

Kevin Pietersen defied any pain from his broken thumb to help England beat India for the first time at the sixth attempt, and keep their new-found Twenty20 world number one status intact.

Pietersen (53) was passed fit only at the 11th hour, and had to be hidden in the field to avoid exacerbating the fracture in his left thumb.

But after Steven Finn (three for 22), Tim Bresnan and Ravi Bopara had shared seven wickets to restrict the hosts to 120 for nine at Eden Gardens, he bashed five fours and three sixes in a 34-ball 50 which eclipsed the batting of all others on a worn pitch.

From the moment Suresh Raina spilled a tough chance at backward square-leg, off a Pietersen mishit at R Ashwin on just one, England's number three appeared to be on a mission to erase some of the most painful memories of the 5-0 one-day international series whitewash which preceded this one-off Twenty20.

He came to the crease at 21 for one after Craig Kieswetter was well held at long-off from the bowling of Ravindra Jadeja.

England might have been considering an awkward chase at that point, particularly after Alex Hales fell to a fine diving catch at deep mid-wicket but the Twenty20 world champions didn't need to worry long about the prospect of a defeat which would have seen them quickly knocked off their perch.

Jadeja bowled his four overs for nine runs. But that mattered little as runs were plundered elsewhere - and even after Patel mishit Virat Kohli to be caught at cover, and Pietersen himself was lbw aiming another switch-hit at Raina to a ball which pitched outside leg-stump, England retained enough self-belief to get over the line with six wickets and eight balls to spare.

Their bowlers had India in instant trouble on five for two, after the hosts had won the toss, wicketkeeper Kieswetter producing two outstanding diving catches - the first especially - as openers Ajinkya Rahane and Robin Uthappa went for a single between them, to Steven Finn and Tim Bresnan respectively.

India never fully recovered and three for 22 from Finn kept them in check.


Not already a Yahoo! user ? to get a free Yahoo! Account