England live to fight another day
by CricketArchive Staff Reporter

Scorecard:England v Pakistan
Player:KP Pietersen, LJ Wright, OA Shah, SCJ Broad, Younis Khan, Saeed Ajmal
Event:ICC World Twenty20 2009

DateLine: 7th June 2009


England should be thankful they had Pakistan to play in the crucial match that they needed to win to stay alive in the ICC Twenty20 World Cup. The runners-up of the first tournament look a far cry from the side that was within shouting distance of the trophy, going down practically without a whimper to hand the hosts a lifeline.


Chasing a fairly steep target of 185, which came thanks mainly to a key innings played for England by Kevin Pietersen, Pakistan at no stage were even within shouting distance and whatever anxiety the team and supporters in England had were laid to rest even before ten overs were bowled in the Pakistan innings.


Pakistan finished with 137 for seven, handing England a win that the hosts desperately needed.


Stuart Broad took two wickets in one over, while spinners Adil Rashid and Graeme Swann were given way too much respect as Pakistan crawled along, seemingly happy just to be around.


In fact such was the state of the batting, that all the bowlers looked good. It seems like Pakistan were happy to wait for the Netherlands and maybe then try to make an attempt to get into the Super Eight stage. Only Younis Khan had anything to offer with the bat as the rest of the batting caved in without a whimper.


The England innings promised many more runs than what they ultimately ended up with. It was obvious that they were trying to make the most of the little gift given to them by Younis, who surprisingly decided to field after winning the toss. Given that Pakistan has a lot of potentially pugnacious batsmen, one would have thought that batting would make sense.


But England began unsteadily, losing the normally dependable Ravi Bopara early. But that gave Pietersen time to settle down, even as Luke Wright kept up the momentum from the other end.


Wright finally did what England were desperately looking for hit a six. He kept at it and as Pietersen also began to whack the ball around, it looked like Pakistan would have a mountain to climb.


Younis called on Umar Gul and the fast bowler hit pay dirt, yorking Wright for 34. But England had obviously learnt a lot of lessons from their shock loss to the Netherlands and they kept the momentum up, with Pietersen going after the bowling and Owais Shah also taking on the bowling.


But despite all that, England somehow did not manage to hit the magic 200-mark. Once off-spinner Saeed Ajmal had both Pietersen and skipper Paul Collingwood top-edging catches in the same over, England lost some steam.


In fact, it was thanks to a fine stand between Dimitri Mascarenhas and James Foster for the sixth wicket which game them 29 vital runs, which were academic at the end, but looked vital at that stage.


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