Pietersen steers England to T20 victory

Kevin Pietersen prepares to swipe another ball to the boundary in his match-winning innings of 53 at Eden Gardens.

Story highlights

  • Kevin Pietersen returns from injury to guide England to Twenty20 victory against India
  • India struggle to 120 for nine wickets; England reach target with eight balls to spare
  • Pietersen smashes 53 from 39 balls including three sixes; Samit Patel chips in with 25
Kevin Pietersen smashed 53 off 39 balls to help England to a six-wicket victory over India in the one-off Twenty20 match at Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Saturday.
Returning from injury, Pietersen's innings included five fours and three sixes as England -- the reigning world Twenty20 champions -- successfully chased down the host's modest target of 120 for nine with eight balls to spare.
India's innings got off to a dreadful start with opener Ajinkya Rahane out in the first over without scoring, soon followed by Robin Uthappa who was caught behind off the bowling of Tim Bresnan for one.
Suresh Raina top scored with 39 before falling to Steven Finn (one of three victims for the Middlesex fast bowler), and MS Dhoni chipped in with 21, but on a difficult run-scoring wicket, India's innings never really got going.
England's openers Craig Kieswetter and Alex Hales made steady progress before they fell for 11 and 12 runs respectively.
Their demise brought first Pietersen, then Samit Patel to the crease who together put on 60 for the third wicket.
Patel departed having contributed a valuable 25 runs, before Pietersen was out LBW to Raina with 15 runs still required.
Ravi Bopara (14 not out) and Jonny Bairstow (2 not out) saw England safely home.
England captain Graeme Swann -- standing in for the injured Stuart Broad -- was relieved to win after being whitewashed 5-0 by India in the recent one-day series.
"We played some abjectly horrible cricket on the tour, but it came together today. However, one swallow does not make a summer. We need to improve," Swann said, AFP reported.