x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Pietersen shines in England's stellar show

The South African-born batsman scores a second half-century as the Proteas suffer a top order collapse in a 39-run defeat.

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados // Kevin Pietersen laid the platform for a commanding 39-run victory over South Africa as England took a giant stride towards the World Twenty20 semi-finals. Man-of-the-match Pietersen's high-class 53 was at the heart of England's 168 for seven against the land of his birth at the Kensington Oval. South Africa, in reply, suffered a dramatic top-order collapse against England spinners Graeme Swann (three wickets for 24 runs) and Michael Yardy (two for 26). The Proteas lost four wickets for 19 runs as 34 for one was transformed into 53 for five. JP Duminy, the only batsman in the innings to score more than 19, made 39 but by that stage the game was all but beyond South Africa's grasp. He became one of a trio of wickets for Ryan Sidebottom (three for 23), who ended the match with an over to spare by bowling Morne Morkel as South Africa were dismissed for 129. Victory left England with two wins from two second round matches after Pietersen made an unbeaten 73 in a six-wicket win over defending champions Pakistan on Thursday. However, it is possible for three of the four sides in a pool that also features New Zealand to end the second round, which concludes for Group E teams in St Lucia on Monday, with two wins each. If that is the case, net run-rate will decide which two teams go through to the last four. But if Pakistan beat South Africa, England will be in the semi-finals before their match against New Zealand. Earlier, Pietersen shared a stand of 94 in just under 12 overs with fellow South Africa born batsman Craig Kieswetter, who made 41, after Collingwood won the toss. The pair relished the pace of fast bowlers Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel, whose combined eight overs cost a hugely expensive 90 runs. Pietersen struck a huge six over long-on off Steyn and then casually advanced down the pitch to drive him for four. But former South Africa Under-19 wicketkeeper Kieswetter had made just seven when he guided Morne Morkel straight to third man only for the Proteas' joy to be cut short because the delivery was a no-ball. Pietersen's 33-ball innings, which featured a six and eight fours, ended when he top-edged an attempted sweep against off-spinner Johan Botha, who took an impressive two for 15. * AFP