ENGLAND captain Paul Collingwood praised his side’s perfect response to a barrage of criticism after securing a place in the last eight of the World Twenty20 with a 48-run win over Pakistan at The Oval.
Batsman Kevin Pietersen, who was only passed fit after a late test on his Achilles, shrugged off injury worries to top-score with 58 as the tournament hosts made 185-5.
And Stuart Broad, who was dealt much of the blame for Friday’s humiliating defeat to minnows Holland in the competition opener, answered his critics by taking 3-17 as England restricted Pakistan to 137-7.
Victory guarantees England’s place in the Super Eights stage, regardless of tomorrow’s result between Pakistan and Holland, where they are likely to meet South Africa, India and Australia.
Collingwood said: “It was special, everything I wanted. When we lost the other night a lot of pride had been hit hard and we had 24 hours to hit back.
“I thought the way we batted was exceptional, there was a lot of freedom. We had to do one thing: go out and win the match. Everybody put their hand up today and that is what we needed from the players.”
Pietersen, who missed Friday’s shock loss to Holland, admitted he was still short of full fitness. “I reckon I’m about 70 per cent fit. Hopefully that is the last of it now because I just love playing.”
He added: “It was a huge match. If we didn’t win we were out and that is not nice. The Holland game was a one off; we should never, ever have lost that game. It’s not right to lose to the Netherlands.” England came into last night’s contest, played in front of a capacity 23,000 crowd in south London, knowing victory was needed to avoid exiting the tournament at the first hurdle.
Aided by some haphazard Pakistani fielding, man of the match Luke Wright (34) and Owais Shah (33) batted with purpose, while Pietersen’s 58 came off just 38 balls.
Wright, whose speedy tally came off 16 deliveries, was equally useful in Pakistan’s innings, claiming the vital wicket of Shoaib Malik in the 13th over and taking two catches.