Pietersen inspires England to victory
There is no doubt that Kevin Pietersen's 58 runs helped England improve on their batting performance from the embarrassing defeat to Holland. However, it wasn't just Pietersen's runs that gave England much needed lift during their vital victory over Pakistan yesterday.
From the moment that England's best batsman declared himself fit, the hosts had the edge on Pakistan. The fans were more optimistic, the batting line-up was stronger and the rest of the team would have been reassured by Pietersen's presence.
The Hampshire man is a very influential character and is one of England's few world-class professionals, so his availability was crucial to the victory. KP can make something happen himself or he can inspire others to lift their game. Either way, it was fantastic to see him back and batting well.
As for the game as a whole, well it was much better from Paul Collingwood's men. In the shortened forms of the game, whether that be Twenty20 or One Day International, England seem to have performed at their best when they are faced with a MUST win. They don't enjoy being overwhelming favourites that much.
The batting was a lot better than against Holland. Luke Wright was destructive at the top once again, Kevin Pietersen and Owais Shah built an important partnership and Dimi Mascarenas and James Foster finished the innings off well. In the end, 185-5 was always going to be a match winning score.
In response, Pakistan struggled to get going. They lost Shehzad early on and when Stuart Broad took two wickets in two balls to reduce them to 41-3, the game was as good as over. They were constantly behind the rate and only captian Younis Khan made an impact with an unbeaten 46 as Pakistan finished on 136-7.
As far as England's bowlers were concerned, Stuart Broad bounced back from his nightmare last over against Holland with figures of 3-17. Everyone performed a valuable role though - including man of the match Luke Wright - and only Adil Rashid finished wicketless. It was a superb team effort.
Overall, the two performances from England so far couldn't have been more contrasting. This means that it is very hard to predict how far they will go in this competition. They are capable of winning it, but they are also capable of not winning another game.
Which team will turn up in the super eights? Hopefully the one that was on show against Pakistan yesterday.