BRIDGETOWN: South Africa born batsmen Craig Kieswetter and Kevin Pietersen starred as England won their first major one-day title in a seven-wicket victory over Australia in Sunday’s World Twenty20 final.
England, chasing 148 to win, after reducing a previously unbeaten Australian side at this tournament to eight for three, saw Kieswetter (63) and Pietersen (47) put on 101 for the second wicket at the Kensington Oval.
They eventually won with three overs to spare when captain Paul Collingwood struck Shane Watson for a boundary as his side finished on 151 for three.
It was the first time England had won a major international one-day event after losing in three World Cup finals (1979, 1987 and 1992) and the 2004 Champions Trophy.
England, who held Australia to 147 for six, had an early setback when Michael Lumb’s exit left them seven for one.
But Kieswetter and Pietersen then dominated the Australian bowlers.
Pietersen, who faced 31 balls, with a six and four fours, was out when he hoisted leg-spinner Steven Smith to David Warner on the long-off boundary.
And, worryingly for England, 118 for two became 121 for three when Kieswetter was bowled by left-arm quick Mitchell Johnson, having faced 49 balls, with two sixes and seven fours.
But Collingwood and former Ireland batsman Eoin Morgan (both 15 not out) saw England home.
Defeat in what was a first World Twenty20 final for both the Ashes rivals left an Australia side previously unbeaten at the tournament still searching for the one major title that has so far eluded them.
Earlier, David Hussey’s 59 kept Australia in the match during an innings where the next best score was Cameron White’s 30.
Kieswetter and Pietersen were in commanding form against Australia’s quicks, with Kieswetter striking two fours in as many balls off left-armer Dirk Nannes and cover-driving express quick Shaun Tait.
Pietersen then hammered left-armer Johnson for four and pierced the offside field with a boundary off Smith.
Kieswetter, a former South Africa Under-19 international, then struck medium-pacer Watson for two fours in as many balls
He later launched the all-rounder for a huge six over midwicket.
At the 10-over halfway mark, England were 73 for one compared to Australia’s 47 for four.
Australia badly needed a breakthrough but, in Tait’s comeback over, Pietersen drove him over his head for a boundary and then struck an even more impressive six high over long-off to bring up England’s hundred.
David Hussey’s 59 kept Australia in the match during an innings where the next best score was Cameron White’s 30.
Just days after brother Michael had pulled off a dramatic rescue mission in a thrilling semi-final win over defending champions Pakistan, the younger Hussey made sure Australia’s bowlers would have a score to defend.
Together with White, David Hussey – missed on 25 – put on fifty for the fifth wicket and then shared a stand of 47 with his brother.
David Hussey was run out in the last over, going for a second run, by Luke Wright’s throw from long-on to Kieswetter.
He faced 54 balls with two sixes and two fours.
Left-arm quick Ryan Sidebottom took two wickets for 26 runs from his maximum four overs and off-spinner Graeme Swann a miserly one for 17.
England had a sensational start after Collingwood won the toss.
Sidebottom struck third ball when Watson edged an intended cut, which was dropped by Kieswetter only for first slip Swann to hold the rebound.
Then two for one became seven for two when David Warner was run out having made just two after failing to beat Lumb’s under-arm direct hit after Australia captain Michael Clarke called for a single.
The collapse continued when Brad Haddin (one) was caught down the legside by diving opposing gloveman Kieswetter off Sidebottom.
Haddin then risked disciplinary action by pointing to his thigh after being given out by umpire Billy Doctrove. [timesofindia]