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England through on run rate

ENGLAND kept its Twenty20 World Cup hopes alive after beating Pakistan by 48 runs at The Oval on Sunday.

Kevin Pietersen struck 58 and Stuart Broad took 3-17 as England qualified for the Super 8 stage thanks to its superior run rate.

"Our approach from the first ball was purposeful and that was the way we needed to bounce back," said captain Paul Collingwood, referring to England's shock defeat to the Netherlands in its opening match. "All 11 players put their hands up and showed a lot of character."

"We got a great score on the board but we couldn't rest on our laurels and I thought our bowling and fielding was top rate. There is a belief in the squad and if we play like that we cover all bases. We've got guys who can hit the ball well, we've got great thinkers and we've got great fielding and bowling."

Chasing 186 to win, Pakistan lost early wickets and fell well behind the required run rate.

Pakistan must beat Netherlands convincingly at Lord's today to avoid elimination, but captain Younis Kahn didn't appear to concerned.

"It's only Twenty20," Khan said. "It's not proper international cricket. It's fun cricket."

Khan admitted fielding had been a problem for his side.

"We missed chances and that's an easy 20-25 runs. Maybe it's the pressure. Everyone in the world is talking about how we're the worst fielding team in the world. In the last couple of days we did a lot of work on our fielding but obviously it didn't come out."

England struck an early blow when Ahmed Shehzad was caught for four by a tumbling Collingwood off Dimitri Mascarenhas in the third over. Kamran Akmal then fell to Broad, caught at deep midwicket by Luke Wright for six and with the next ball he tempted Salman Butt into a foolish swipe that was easily caught by Ravi Bopara.

At the halfway stage of the innings Pakistan needed 12 an over and it was dealt another blow when Shoaib Malik was caught behind by Foster off Wright.

Tight England bowling and fielding stifled Pakistan's dangerous batsman Shahid Afridi. Afridi scored just five from 12 balls when he was caught by substitute Eoin Morgan off Graeme Swann and Morgan then caught Misbah ul-Haq off Anderson. Broad had Yasir Arafat caught by Wright and Pakistan closed on 137-7.

Earlier England scored 185-5. Pietersen made a brilliant 58, but after reaching 100 in the tenth over, England's run rate was curtailed by Pakistan's bowlers in the second half of its innings.

The hosts could have been dismissed for far less but for some terrible fielding by Pakistan, who dropped four catches.

England made a nervous start in murky conditions. Bopara was inches away from being run out from the fourth ball of the innings, but was brilliantly caught in the next over by Shoaib Malik trying to square cut Mohammad Amir.

Wright then took on the Pakistan attack, hitting England's first six of the tournament in the fifth over and five successive boundaries.


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