England v South Africa, World T20, Group E, Barbados May 8, 2010

Pietersen prepares to fly home for fatherhood

Cricinfo staff

Kevin Pietersen will miss England's final Super Eights fixture against New Zealand on Monday, as he returns to the UK to attend the birth of his first child.

Pietersen, who was named Man of the Match after guiding England to a 39-run victory over South Africa at Bridgetown on Saturday, intends to return to the Caribbean in time for the semi-finals, assuming the team qualifies in his absence, and that there are no complications with the birth.

"I'm flying in the next 24 hours, and if there are no complications, I'll come back in a day before the semi," said Pietersen during the post-match presentation at Bridgetown. "It's my first child, so it's a hell of an exciting time for me. I'll be dashing across the Atlantic, and hopefully dashing back."

Pietersen has been England's form batsman in the Super Eights, adding an aggressive 33-ball 53 to the 73 not out he made in their first game against Pakistan. "I've had a rough 14 months, so it's nice to be back in nick again, and part of a team that's successful," he said. "We were pretty good today."

Paul Collingwood acknowledged the role Pietersen had played in the team's success. "The contributions he has made in the last two games have been fantastic and he's gone a long way to get us into the semi-finals and all being well we can get him back," he said. "I'm delighted for him because he's about to have his first child and I know what that feels like."

In Pietersen's absence, Ravi Bopara is the likely candidate to slot into the side at No. 3. With two wins out of two, England are virtually assured of a place in the semi-finals, and need only to avoid a heavy defeat against New Zealand to guarantee their slot.