Pietersen sets up easy win for England

Hampshire man hits unbeaten 73 as Pak slide to six-wicket defeat

After restricting Pakistan to a gettable 147 for nine, England coasted to victory replying with 151 for four in 19.3 overs. With the target nowhere near intimidating, England openers batted with great freedom to set a good base from where Kevin Pietersen took over and guided his team to victory with little fuss.

The right-hander, coming here after a successful stint with the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL III, with a judicious mix of caution and aggression stroked his way to an unbeaten 73 that included eight fours and two sixes, an effort that fetched him the man of the match award.      

Michael Lumb, who impresssed all with his aggressive batting at the top for Rajasthan Royals, began by dispatching the first ball of the innings by Abdul Razzaq behind square-leg and the left-hander continued to bat in the same fashion for a 13-ball 25 before falling to Saeed Ajmal, who dropped two sitters at mid off. His partner, a relatively sedate Craig Keiswetter, too got out at the same score. Skipper Paul Collingwood, who decided to bowl first, too departed soon. But Pietersen remained calm and unruffled as he shaped his team to comfortable victory.   

The lack of precision among Pakistani bowlers, coupled with their sloppy catching, made England’s task only easier. After a fine start Pakistan, as is their wont, blew it all away managing a total that was way less than what they appeared to post. Kamran Akmal began with a bang, swatting Ryan Sidebottom’s lifter to fine leg for six off the first ball of the innings while Salman Butt in the company of Mohammad Hafeez raised a good 46 for the second wicket but Pakistan lost their way thereafter.

Despite the English pacemen peppering them with short-pitched balls, Pakistan had managed ebb their way ahead but the introduction of spin bowling had them in a bind. Left-arm spinner Michael Yardy and off-spinner Graeme Swann maintained a tidy line and length and with the pitch offering some turn, the two prospered



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