Sat, Sep 15, 2007 - Page 19 News List

England bring Zimbabwe back to earth

BIG HITTER Prosper Utseya's side couldn't emulate their feats against Australia as Kevin Pietersen smashed four sixes and seven fours in his match-winning knock

AFP , CAPE TOWN AND DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA

A fan of the Indian cricket team holds a national flag as she waits in vain for their match against Scotland to start in Durban, South Africa, on Thursday.

PHOTO: AFP

Kevin Pietersen lashed 79 off 37 balls as England beat giant-killers Zimbabwe in a World Twenty20 match at Newlands on Thursday.

England won by 50 runs as they sent Zimbabwe crashing back to earth after their shock five-wicket win over tournament favorites Australia on Wednesday.

Pietersen and captain Paul Collingwood were mainly responsible for England's total of 188 for nine after Collingwood decided to bat after winning the toss.

Pietersen and Collingwood (37) put on 100 for the fourth wicket off 54 balls.

Zimbabwe briefly threatened to repeat Wednesday's upset when Vusi Sibanda and Brendan Taylor put on 74 for the first wicket in 8.4 overs.

But Zimbabwe's innings lost momentum against the medium pace of Dimitri Mascarenhas and the leg spin of Chris Schofield.

Bowling in tandem, Mascarenhas and Schofield were took five wickets while conceding only 33 runs between them in eight overs. Mascarenhas took three for 18 and Schofield two for 15.

For Schofield, 28, it marked a successful return to international cricket after he played in two Test matches in 2000 before hitting a low in his career, which included a spell in Minor Counties cricket before he joined Surrey late last season.

Pietersen batted with power and invention in an innings which included four sixes and seven fours. At one stage he hit successive reverse sweep shots off slow left-arm bowler Keith Dabengwa for 6, 4 and 4 in an over in which he scored 22 runs.

It was the reverse sweep which was his downfall, however, when he hit Zimbabwe captain, Prosper Utseya, to Hamilton Masakadza on the deep cover boundary.

The momentum went out of England's innings in the next over when Collingwood attempted a second run and could not beat an accurate throw from the boundary by Vusi Sibanda.

England could only add 37 runs for the loss of six wickets in the last 5.3 overs following Pietersen's dismissal.

Opening bowler Elton Chigumbura, one of the heroes of Zimbabwe's five-wicket win over Australia, took four for 31. He twice took wickets with successive balls.

Sibanda and Taylor rattled up 32 in the first three overs of the Zimbabwe innings. Taylor, man of the match after making 60 not out against Australia, scored 47 off 39 balls before he was clean bowled by Mascarenhas.

Meanwhile bad weather forced the group D match between India and Scotland to be abandoned without a ball being bowled on Thursday.

Persistent rain frustrated the two teams after Scotland captain Ryan Watson won the toss and sent India in to bat at the Kingsmead.

Play could not begin and Australian umpires Simon Taufel and Steve Davis called off the match when not enough time was left to bowl a minimum of five overs a side to force a result.

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