England v Pakistan, Group E, World T20, Barbados May 6, 2010

Pietersen praises England power-hitters


Kevin Pietersen could be leaving this tournament at any moment should his wife go into labour, and in the form he showed against Pakistan it will be a considerable hole to fill if he is absent.

His unbeaten 73 meant England eased home with three balls to spare against Pakistan to put them in a strong position to qualify for the semi-finals. Pietersen arrived a few days later than his team-mates for this event, after spending time at home following the IPL, and his only warm-up innings was a first-ball duck against South Africa.

However, he'd shown consistent form at the IPL and was in decent touch in Guyana before twice falling to poorly-placed pull shots. Pietersen used to be the one batsman England could rely on to clear the boundary, but now the line-up is packed with power following the inclusion of Michael Lumb and Craig Kieswetter at the top, plus Eoin Morgan at No. 5.

"I've played in the team for five or six years and to have a batting line-up like we have now is incredible," Pietersen said. "For every bloke from one down to nine or ten to be able to hit sixes is brilliant. When I started we had [Marcus] Trescothick but didn't have many six-hitters and now most of our guys can hit sixes so it's brilliant for English cricket."

Pietersen's first significant impact on the match had come in the field when he sprinted around the boundary at deep midwicket to hold a stunning catch to remove the dangerous Umar Akmal, who still had time to extend Pakistan's total. Pietersen hasn't always been the safest pair of hands in the field having started his Test career with a rash of dropped catches in the 2005 Ashes, but this take highlighted how mobile England now are in the field.

"Those are catches you go for and if you get them they look great," he said, "but with hands like I've got you aren't meant to catch them, that is for sure."

The contrast with Pakistan couldn't have been greater as they produced a horrific fielding display. Saeed Ajmal managed to drop three chances at mid-on and mid-off, Abdur Razzaq put down a caught-and-bowled opportunity against Pietersen and Fawad Alam palmed a tough catch over the boundary for six. However, coach Waqar Younis played down the significance of a poor match.

"The way we dropped the catches was very frustrating, but we aren't out of the tournament so don't have to worry about that," he said. "I thought 147 was a decent total, maybe 15 runs short, but with our bowling attack I thought we could manage it. However, you have to give credit to Kevin Pietersen. He batted like a champion and took the game away from us."

Andrew McGlashan is assistant editor of Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Samuel on May 7, 2010, 11:33 GMT

    Anoopsy, only one of those players doesn't have any family connections with England. And he's Irish anyway, and as Jackie Charlton said, everyone in the UK is Irish :P

  • Andrew on May 7, 2010, 9:23 GMT

    This obsession with the "nationality" of the english team is dull in the extreme...All the saffers have one parent who has a british passport, so they qualify. My son (of a british passport holding parent) was born and will grow up in South Africa and I expect him to support both countries (except when they playing each other, in which case support england), and he should have the choice to play for both countries, although will probably opt for S.A. first as they win more! I find it sad that Morgan has been allowed in, as both his parents are Irish, but hey ho... England is a multi cultural melting point which has a history of migration, both in and out of the country, so should the sons of emigrants chose to play for the mother country then so be it. Likewise, in the future, I am sure there will be sons of british born Indians and Pakistanis wishing to play for their mother country... As long as it is their passion for the game that motivates them, not money...

  • Dummy4 on May 7, 2010, 9:00 GMT

    And pakistan should learn looking at KP. How he batted? How he ran between wickets.It is so frustrating that pakistanis dont take singles.They are always looking for the bigshots.And most of the pakistani batsmen looked very nervous in the pitch. Aamir should bowl when the reverse swing is on.

  • Sidharth on May 7, 2010, 8:06 GMT

    I dont understand people criticising english cricket team for accepting cricketers from other countries. i personally feel tht its the right thing to do and give proper credit for a player's credetials no matter what native he is from. in a way its the right thing ecb is doing. if they cant be accepted in their own nations or they wan2 change things wat is the problem in accepting them. its totally fair in my opinion..

  • David on May 7, 2010, 8:00 GMT

    "Takes the passion out of the game when a team is of mixed composition"

    Man, I've heard some crap in my time...

  • naveen on May 7, 2010, 6:47 GMT

    Anoop! agree with u! I'm a great fan of England but dont favour this Non-Englishman in the England team!

  • Mainuddin on May 7, 2010, 6:37 GMT

    People who are saying England team have a lot of South Africans have no clue. They are more English than they are South African. They are the product of the English County system. They have been playing in England for years, and developed their game in England. After many years of staying in England, they have earned English nationality and have decided to play for the English national cricket team. Those who have issues with this are just jealous of the greatness of this England team.

  • Dummy4 on May 7, 2010, 6:10 GMT

    i think more than pieterson winning this it was ajmal who lost the match singlehandedly. When you drop 3 dollys u stay where u are!

  • Anabayan on May 7, 2010, 4:13 GMT

    Well, lets jot down the power hitters then..1) KP, 2) Morgan, 3) Lumb, 4) Keiswetter, 5) Colly. Guess what? only one of them is from England. Surprise surprise.

  • vviky on May 7, 2010, 4:01 GMT

    forget the results. I dont think most of the english supporters will be happy with the current team. it is a mix of irish, south africans. it takes the passion out the game when a team is of mixed composition.

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