CAPTAIN Paul Collingwood says England want to repay Kevin Pietersen’s heroics by clinching a World Twenty20 semi-final spot in his absence.
Collingwood’s men will book a place in the last four so long as they can avoid defeat by a big margin against New Zealand in St Lucia tonight – that is unless Pakistan beat South Africa in the earlier game.
Pietersen, however, misses the final Super Eights game as he has returned to London to visit wife Jessica at the birth of their first child.
But the big-hitting Hampshire man, who guided into the victory in their two previous Super Eights matches with man-of-the-match performances, has vowed to return for the semi-final if England progress.
Skipper Collingwood said: “The contributions he’s made in the last two games have been fantastic. His contributions have certainly gone a long way towards getting us into the semi-finals.
Essex’s Ravi Bopara is likely to be given the nod to take on the Kiwis in place of Pietersen tonight, is what’s expected to be the only change from the side which hammered South Africa by 39 runs on Saturday.
Elsewhere, captain Chris Gayle smashed seven sixes and five fours in a brilliant 66-ball 98 to help West Indies to a 14-run victory over India in the Super Eights. Gayle’s blistering knock helped the Windies to 169-6, which was always out of India’s reach.
Cameron White, meanwhile, hit six fours and six sixes in a 49-ball unbeaten 85 to rescue Australia from 30-4 to reach 168-5 and clinch an easy 81-run victory over Sri Lanka.
White shared an unbroken stand of 101 with Mike Hussey (39no) before Mitchell Johnson took 3-16 as Australia bowled Sri Lanka out for 87.