x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Pakistan drop Super Eight opener to England

Kevin Pietersen stars with the bat and takes a superb catch as England beat Pakistan by six wickets in Barbados.

England began the Super Eight stage of the World Twenty20 with a clinical demolition of the defending champions Pakistan at Kensington Oval in Bridge- town, Barbados, last night. Kevin Pietersen led the charge with an aggressive 70 not out after the England bowlers restricted Pakistan to 147 for nine.

"Let's not get carried away, but we are delighted with the win and to get some points on the board," Paul Collingwood, the England captain, said at the post-match television interview. "There are a few areas to improve on, we were a bit sloppy at the end. But I was pleased how we took the momentum back in the middle of Pakistan's innings." Pietersen, who won the man-of-the-match award for a 52-ball knock that contained seven fours and a couple of sixes and a superb running catch near the boundary, seemed to have suffered an ankle injury while batting but after the match said he was feeling fine.

The Pakistani batting crumbled after a decent start and the fielding was atrocious. They put down several catches and Kamran Akmal missed a regulation run out when he failed to dislodge the bails running towards the stumps. "The fielding has been usually good during practice but I was baffled at the missed chances," said Shahid Afridi, the Pakistan captain. "You can't afford to miss opportunities. Had we taken the opportunities the match could have turned out differently."

England's openers, Michael Lumb and Craig Kieswetter, scored 25 apiece to give them a solid start. Lumb was first to depart with the score at 44 and Kieswetter fell at 65. Pietersen and Collingwood shared a 60-run stand for the third wicket after the departure of the openers to see England through. Ajmal, who dropped Kieswetter three times - two of them comfortable chances - ended the opening partnership by claiming the wicket of Lumb.

Abdul Razzaq, who could have had Kieswetter with the very first delivery he faced, eventually had him caught by Umar Akmal at long on off a skier. Pakistan had made a decent start after they were put in. Kamran Akmal pulled the first delivery of the match, from Ryan Sidebottom, for six but fell to Chris Broad to a top-edge behind the stumps to Kieswetter for 15. Salman Butt and Mohammad Hafeez took the score to 71 in 9.2 overs

England's bowlers produced a spirited display with Michael Yardy the pick of them, claiming two for 19 from his four overs. At 44 for one after six overs, Pakistan were well placed, but thereafter it was over to the slower men in England's attack, with the spin of Yardy and Graeme Swann combining with Paul Collingwood's off-cutters to stop the flow of runs. Butt, who had cruised along to 34 from 26 balls, went when he skimmed a flat drive off Swann to Collingwood in the covers.

Things went badly wrong for Pakistan in the following over. Mohammad Hafeez slashed a shorter ball to Broad at short third man, then Afridi, their main hope, dabbed his first ball into the covers, set off for a non-existent single, and didn't even try to regain his ground as Luke Wright lobbed the ball back to the keeper. At 77 for four, Misbah-ul-Haq and Umar embarked on a consolidation period with a glut of singles along with a huge six by Misbah.

Then Yardy bowled Misbah with the score at 102, and although Pakistan managed another 45 from the last five over, their total of 147 was not quite enough. * Compiled by Amith Passela, with agencies