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Pietersen inspires England to victory
August 22, 2008 23:25 IST
Last Updated: August 23, 2008 12:37 IST
Kevin Pietersen [Images] scored 90 not out and then claimed two wickets to inspire his England [Images] team to a 20-run victory over South Africa [Images] in their opening one-day international at Headingley on Friday.
The tourists, replying to England's 275 for four, could only manage 255 to give Pietersen another win after he was appointed captain this month. He finished with two for 22 from five overs and played a part in the run out of Jacques Kallis [Images].
South Africa started brightly but as soon as rookie spinner Samit Patel bowled Herschelle Gibbs [Images] (37) to leave them on 93 for two in the 16th over the match gradually turned England's way.
Kallis, with 52, and AB de Villiers [Images], caught at midwicket for 24 in Pietersen's first over, failed to build on a promising start. Mark Boucher [Images] was then stumped to give Pietersen his second victim.
"The team were brilliant," Pietersen told Sky Sports television. "There is no point resting on our laurels though.
"It is a long series, still four more games to play. We always start well and end up messing it up a bit so I think Nottingham (on Tuesday) is a huge fixture for us."
Earlier, Pietersen combined with Andrew Flintoff [Images] (78) in a destructive stand of 158 from 128 balls.
Pietersen, who survived lbw appeals on 19 and 58, batted for 82 balls for his fifth half-century in eight one-day innings against his native South Africa.
Flintoff faced 70 deliveries and joined Pietersen in England's highest fourth-wicket stand in one-day cricket against the Proteas.
The home side made up for a sluggish start to their innings by scoring 94 runs from the last 10 overs, as South Africa struggled to contain England's belated aggression.
Pietersen's first boundary came off his 52nd delivery as he went to 41, courtesy of a slog through mid-wicket off a full toss by off-spinner Johan Botha. He drove Vernon Philander for a straight four with his next ball.
Flintoff registered his first half-century for England since January last year, bringing up his fifty with a leg glance for four that also raised the 100 partnership.
However, England did not enjoy the most fluent of starts. Ian Bell [Images] struggled for 35 runs from 69 balls, while his opening partner Matt Prior [Images] could have been out three times before he went for 42.
England fast bowler Steve Harmison claimed figures of two for 43 in 10 overs in his first one-day international since retiring from the format 20 months ago.
"We showed a lot of rustiness," said South Africa skipper Graeme Smith [Images]. "The fact is we haven't had the greatest build-up to this series.
"There is a lot to improve on before Nottingham. We were way below par, we know we can improve a hell of a lot and that is encouraging."
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