Pietersen sets up chance to 'humiliate' Australia

Published: Friday, September 14, 2007, 11:47 [IST]
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Kevin Pietersen played a match-winning innings against Zimbabwe at Newlands which he said gave England a chance to "humiliate" Australia in the World Twenty20 championship.

England's 50-run win meant Australia have to beat England in order to avoid elimination when the old rivals meet in their final group match at the same ground Friday.

Australia suffered a shock five-wicket defeat against Zimbabwe Wednesday. Pietersen lashed 79 off 37 balls to set up a 50-run win for England.

"We've been humiliated by Australia," said Pietersen. "Now we are in a position of strength where we can humiliate them."

But Pietersen warned that Australia were likely to bounce back. "We've been playing a lot of cricket and they looked a bit rusty yesterday but they've got world-class players and you can never underestimate them. But we've got an edge in terms of match practice."

The margin of England's win Thursday meant that an Australian win would probably result in both England and Australia going through to the Super Eights stage.

Zimbabwe coach Robin Brown acknowledged: "We are hoping England bowl as well against Australia as they did today. But whatever happens we have played some good cricket and we can only go forward."

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 responsible for 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 in the 2006 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, off-spinner Prosper Utseya, to Hamilton Masakadza on the deep cover boundary.

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