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Pietersen pilots England to six-wicket win
Sunday, October 30, 2011

Kolkata :  Kevin Pietersen piloted England to an emphatic six-wicket victory with a half-century in the one-off twenty20 Internatioanl against India here, as the visitors managed to salvage some pride to end their otherwise disastrous tour Saturday.

Pietersen (53; 39 b, 5x4, 3x6), made full use of an early "life" to enable his side register their only win of the tour and retain their position as the number one twenty20 team in the world.

England displayed allround superiority as they first bowled with discipline to restrict the hosts to 120/9, on a slow track as pacer Steven Finn led the charge with figures of 3/22. England batsmen then made 121/4 with eight balls to spare bfore around 50,000 spectators on the Eden Gardens track where run scoring was diffcult.

Pietersen, who came after the fall of the first wicket of Craige Kieswetter (12) in the fourth over was lucky on 1 as he was dropped by Suresh Raina off offie Ravinchandran Ashwin. It was only the fourth ball faced by the England batsman, but then he grew from strength to strength to remain there till the 16th over.

When he finally got out leg before to Suresh Raina, England needed only 16 runs for victory in 25 balls.

The centrepiece of England's innings was a 46-ball 60 run stand for the third wicket between pietersen and Samit Patel (21; 25 b, 1x4, 1x6) that sealed India's fate.

Earlier, Raina (39) top scored for the hosts who elected to bat on the dry surface at the Eden Gardens and in the end managed to set England an asking rate of 6.05 runs per over.

Indian skipper in-form Mahendra Singh Dhoni (21; 26 b, 1x6) was the next principal scorer, as he cut out his characteristic flamboyance and played cautiously and went for the slog only in the last over when he hit a six off Jade Dernbach, a ball after being dropped by Jonathan Bairstow at long on.

Winning the toss, India began their batting on the wrong note losing Ajinkya Rahane in the very first over before the batsman could bother the scorer. Wicketkeeper Craig Kieswetter took a diving one handed catch to see the back of the youngster off Finn's bowling.

The wicketkeeper took another great catch in the second over to dismiss opener Robin Uthappa (1), who failed to celebrate his return to the national team after three years. The Karnataka player edged an away ball from Tim Bresnan and Kieswetter grabbed the ball near first slip, reducing the hosts to 5/2.

Virat Kohli went on the offensive from the start hitting some good shots but was back in the sixth over as his pull off Bresnan ended in the hands of Alex Hales near the long-on boundary.

Raina's first two scoring strokes were a six and a four, and he went on to cut English skipper Graeme Swann's spin for a boundary through point and then hit him over mid-wicket for another six as 16 runs came off the eighth over.

India were 65/3 at the halfway stage.

Finn did double damage in the 12over, getting rid of Raina (39; 29 b, 4x4, 2x6) and Ravindra Jadeja (0) off consecutive deliveries. Raina failed to negotiate a slower one to finish to Jonathan Bairstow at point, while Jadeja bottom edged on to his off-stump. India seemed to be tottering at 74/6 after a dozen overs.

Realising the sluggish surface, Dhoni played cautiously cutting out on adventurous strokes, but Ravi Bopara worsened India's condition with a double wicket burst in the 17th over. Pathan (10) and Praveen Kumar (0) both played across the line to see their stumps dislodged. (IANS)


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