Kevin Pietersen blasted unbeaten 111 runs in the third One Day International against Pakistan as the tourists won the third consecutive match in a grand style by nine wickets. England was one match away from the white wash in the four ODI series being played in the United Arab Emirates.
Pakistan crept to 222 runs before they were bowled out in 50 overs and England chased the target in just 37.2 overs after scoring 226 for the loss of only one wicket.
Kevin Pietersen was declared ‘Player of the match’ after his ton which came after a long wait of over three years.
The match was played at Dubai International Cricket Stadium (neutral venue) on February 18, 2012.
Earlier, Misbah-Ul-Haq won the toss first time in the series and availed the chance of batting first while making their presence felt in the series by winning the match. The first wicket of Imran Farhat was lost at 22 runs when he had scored nine runs. The Pakistani top order found it difficult to tackle with the accurate and dangerous bowling of England and four wickets went down for 50 runs in 10.4 overs.
The youngsters Asad Shafiq and Umar Akmal put breaks by adding 47 runs for the fifth wicket before the earlier donated his wicket by running himself out for 18. Shahid Afridi came in next and negotiated the bowling at merit and Umar kept on consolidating at the other end.
The strengthened the innings and the proceeding started looking good for Pakistan as the runs were being accumulated without losing further wickets. Umar achieved his fifty in the 39th over but was caught smartly by Samit Patel off Stuart Broad at the same score in the very next over. The problems for the home team were multiplied when Afridi also departed in the 41st over after scoring 51 runs.
The tail added useful 42 runs led by Umar Gul who remained unbeaten on 27 as the whole team was bowled out for 222 runs at the last ball of the 50th over.
Steven Finn and Stuart Broad were the highest wicket takers with three each as James Anderson held two wickets.
England started off well and initiated the things from where they were left in the previous two encounters which was being well led by their Capatin, Alastair Cook. They gathered 60 runs in the first ten overs of powerplay and kept on enhancing the score without taking any chances.
The sloppy fielding of Pakistan continued when Pietersen was dropped at 45 runs by Azhar Ali off Aizaz Cheema on the fifth ball of the 17th over. Cook completed his fifty in the 18th over and Pietersen followed him in the 20th over. The duo became unstoppable as Misbah tried to separate their partnership while utilising his entire bowling options.
The duo completed 150 runs solid partnership in the 26th over and Cook became the first victim for 80 runs off 98 balls with the help of one six and nine fours. The opening pair contributed 170 runs as Eoin Morgan got the promotion in the batting order to get back his lost confidence. He was dropped by the wicket keeper Adnan Akmal off Saeed Ajmal at nine runs as Pietersen thrashed his eighth ODI fifty in the 36th over.
Pietersen got the three figures after a lapse of more than three years as he dispatched his last ton against India at Cuttack on November 26, 2008, where he smashed unbeaten 111 runs. He continued the assault and hit the second ball of the 38th over rolling over boundary and let down the rivals by surpassing their target.
England secured the goal by plundering 226 runs as Pietersen remained unbeaten on 111 off 98 balls with two huge sixes and 10 fours. Morgan gave nice support at the other end and was not out at 24 off 32 deliveries with one six and two fours.
Engalnd has won all three matches played so far and will be anticipating winning the fourth and last encounter at the same venue on February 21, 2012, and take a sweet revenge of the Test series which they lost 0-3.