Barbados: Kevin Pietersen's commanding, unbeaten 70 off 52 balls led England past Pakistan by six wickets with three balls remaining in the first World Twenty20 Super Eights match at Kensington Oval on Thursday.
Better hands in the field also proved the difference for England, which scored 148-4 to chase down Pakistan's 147-9 off 20 overs.
Pietersen hit two sixes and seven fours, and his match-winning single formalized the outcome that was more comfortable than it appeared.
Michael Lumb and Craig Kieswetter laid the foundation for Pietersen with an opening partnership of 44 off 5.4 overs. Both made 25 but Saeed Ajmal dropped Kieswetter twice and the left-handed Lumb once within the first five overs. Pakistan also put down two more catches.
Once Lumb was stumped off Ajmal's offspin and Kieswetter caught at long-off from Abdul Razzaq, Pietersen was the dominant batsman. He shared a third-wicket partnership of 60 with captain Paul Collingwood, who made 16 before falling to Pakistan skipper Shahid Afridi.
In contrast to Pakistan, England's sharpness in the field kept Pakistan in check throughout its innings.
Pietersen held a breathtaking catch on the midwicket boundary, a few meters in front of disbelieving spectators in the Greenidge and Haynes Stand, to dismiss the threatening Umar Akmal for 30.
Left-handed opener Salman Butt topscored for Pakistan with 34 off 26 balls. He struck three fours and a six to provide Pakistan with a solid start.
But England hit back in mid-innings as left-arm spinner Michael Yardy (2-19) and pacers Stuart Broad (2-25) and Ryan Sidebottom (2-28) claimed crucial breakthroughs.
Pakistan, sent in, got a sound platform from Butt and Kamran Akmal, who shared 31 before Broad made the first breakthrough.
Akmal, who compiled 15 off 18 balls, deflected a bouncer to wicketkeeper Kieswetter. Butt shared another assured stand of 41 with Mohammad Hafeez (18) before the innings lost momentum as England fought back.
Off-spinner Graeme Swann claimed Butt, who drove straight to extra cover at 71-2. Yardy removed Hafeez, and Afridi was run out next ball to leave Pakistan at 76-4. Umar Akmal bolstered the innings with 30 off 25 balls but no one else passed 13.