ZIMBABWE are on tenterhooks after their 50-run defeat to England left them unsure if they would make it to the next round of the ICC World Twenty20 in South Africa.
A victory over England at Newlands in Cape Town would have seen
Zimbabwe qualifying for the Super Eight group stage straight-away.
Zimbabwe caused a major upset in their first game on Wednesday when they shocked Australia by five wickets.
But after Kevin Pietersen ensured the underdogs would not repeat another giant-killing act yesterday, Zimbabwe will now have to wait for the result of today’s match between England and Australia.
Australia must beat England to remain in contention for the next stage.
The top two teams from each of the four groups at the 12-team tournament progress to the Super Eight.
England are assured of qualification to the next stage unless they lose to Australia by more than 50 runs and Kevin Pietersen is relishing the challenge ahead.
“We were humiliated by Australia (in the Ashes) last winter and now we’re in a position of strength where we can pretty much humiliate them,” Pietersen said following his man-of-the-match knock of 79 from 37 deliveries against Zimbabwe.
“It’s somewhere we haven’t been for a long time and it would be a really good day for England if it happens. I’m not saying it is going to happen but it’s an opportunity of a lifetime,” Pietersen said.
Ponting admitted he was embarrassed by his team’s performance against Zimbabwe and knows they have to improve drastically if they are to prolong their stay in South Africa.
“We’re playing a good team and we’re going to have to play a lot better than we did against Zimbabwe if we want to win,” Ponting said.
“We have to improve, it’s as simple as that. There’s a short turn around between games but I’m hoping it’s more a mindset thing that we have to get right.
“We have to learn from our mistakes (against Zimbabwe) and if we don’t then we’re fools. Hopefully we can bounce back on Friday (today.”
Pietersen inspired England to a resounding win by 50 runs against Zimbabwe after batting first and totalling a daunting 188-9 at Newlands yesterday.
Pietersen smashed 79 from just 37 balls with seven fours and four sixes while skipper Paul Collingwood weighed in with 37 from 28 balls as Zimbabwe were brought down to earth after Wednesday’s shock five-wicket victory over Australia.
In reply, Zimbabwe were restricted to 138-7 with Wednesday’s man of the match Brendan Taylor again top-scoring with 47 from 39 deliveries.
Seamer Dimitri Mascarenhas (3-18) and leg spinner Chris Schofield (2-15) were the pick of the England bowlers who recovered well after an opening stand of 74 in just nine overs between Taylor and Vusi Sibanda (29).
Determined to take advantage of a short off-side boundary while facing left arm spinner Keith Dabengwa, Pietersen played three successive reverse sweeps for a six and two fours.
Dabengwa’s over, the 13th of the innings, went for 22 and Zimbabwe’s chances of containing England to a manageable score had disappeared.
Opening bowler Elton Chigumbura struck two early blows to leave England struggling at 20-2 but that success only served to bring Pietersen to the crease earlier than expected. Chigumbura finished with creditable figures of 4-31 from his four overs.
Sibanda c Maddy b Mascarenhas 29
Taylor b Mascarenhas 47
Taibu b Mascarenhas 2
Chibhabha c & b Schofield 5
Matsikenyeri c Flintoff b Schofield 2
Chigumbura c Wright b Collingwood 8
Masakadza c Wright b Broad 27
Utseya not out 13
Dabengwa not out 0
Extras (lb-4, w-1) 5
Total (seven wickets, 20 overs) 138
Fall of wicket: 1-74, 2-81, 3-84, 4-87, 5-89, 6-104
Did not bat: Brent, Mupariwa
Bowling: Broad: 4-0-29-1, 3-0-31-0, Flintoff 3-0-18-0, Mascarenhas 4-0-18-3, Schofield 4-0-15-2, Collingwood 2-0-23-1 (w-1)
Maddy c Matsikenyeri b Chigumbura 14
Prior c Chibhabha b Mupariwa 20
Wright c Taylor b Chigumbura 0
Pietersen c Masakadza b Utseya 79
Collingwood run out 37
Flintoff b Chibhabha 13
Shah c Chibhabha b Chigumbura 11
Mascarenhas c Masakadza b Chigumbura 0
Schofield not out 9
Broad run out 1
Anderson not out 0
Extras (lb-1, w-3) 4
Total (nine wickets, 20 overs) 188
Fall of wickets: 1-20, 2-20, 3-51, 4-151, 5-154, 6-172, 7-178, 8-178, 9-186
Bowling: Chigumbura 4-0-31-4 (1w), Brent 3-0-34-0, Mupariwa 2-0-22-1, Utseya 4-0-27-1, Taibu 2-0-20-0, Dabengwa 2-0-29-0 (1w), Chibhabha 3-0-24-1 (1w)
Result: England win by 50 runs. — Staff Writer/Reuters.