Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Pietersen Plays a Straight Bat; Star of Show Gives Praise to Team-Mates

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Pietersen Plays a Straight Bat; Star of Show Gives Praise to Team-Mates

Article excerpt

Byline: DAVID CLOUGH

KEVIN Pietersen's man-of-thematch innings was lauded as "champion" and "exceptional" in the England and Pakistan camps - yet his own response was coy, writes DAVID CLOUGH.

Pietersen's captain Paul Collingwood and Pakistan coach Waqar Younis both spoke in glowing terms about the unbeaten 70 which ensured England began their ICC World Twenty20 Super Eight campaign with an easy win over the champions at Kensington Oval.

But the man himself, who dispelled any concerns about a self-inflicted ankle injury or significant updates on his possible departure from this tournament because of the impending birth of his first child, was hardly about to get carried away. Pietersen hit eight fours and two sixes from 52 balls as England passed Pakistan's under-par 147 for nine with three balls to spare.

Invited to reflect on his telling contribution, he chose instead to deflect the credit to his team-mates.

"Anything can happen in Twenty20. I could get out first ball [against South Africa] on Saturday," he said.

"It was nice, a nice wicket to bat on, and the boys bowled well.

"Then we chased down a real gettable total, which was great."

The only worry for England came when Pietersen pulled up with an apparent injury to his lower left leg. But he was able to continue his innings, and England supporters could be placated by the fact it was at least not the same leg on which Pietersen had Achilles surgery last year.

But he explained: "No concern - I just hit my bat on my ankle.

"It's bleeding a little bit, but no problem."

There is no panic either yet about his likely dash home at some point over the next 10 days to be present at the birth of his baby in London.

That life-changing event will not clutter his mind when he is playing, he insists.

"If it's after the tournament that the baby comes, it's after the tournament," said the batsman. …

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