BARBADOS: South Africa born batsmen Craig Kieswetter and Kevin Pietersen starred as England won their first major limited overs title in a seven-wicket victory over Australia in Sunday’s World Twenty20 final.
England, chasing 148 to win, after reducing a previously unbeaten Australian side at this tournament to eight for three, saw Kieswetter (63) and Pietersen (47) put on 101 or the second wicket at the Kensington Oval.
They eventually won with three overs to spare when captain Paul Collingwood struck Shane Watson for a boundary as his side finished on 151 for three.
It was the first time England had won a major international limited overs event after losing in three World Cup finals (1979, 1987 and 1992) and the 2004 Champions Trophy.
England, who held Australia to 147 for six, had an early setback when Michael Lumb’s exit left them seven for one. But Kieswetter and Pietersen then dominated the Australian bowlers.
Pietersen, who faced 31 balls, with a six and four fours, was out when he hoisted leg-spinner Steven Smith to David Warner on the long-off boundary. And, worryingly for England, 118 for two became 121 for three when Kieswetter was bowled by left-arm quick Mitchell Johnson, having faced 49 balls, with two sixes and seven fours. But Collingwood and former Ireland batsman Eoin Morgan (both 15 not out) saw England home.
Defeat in what was a first World Twenty20 final for both the Ashes rivals left an Australia side previously unbeaten at the tournament still searching for the one major title that has so far eluded them.
Earlier, David Hussey’s 59 kept Australia in the match during an innings where the next best score was Cameron White’s 30. Just days after brother Michael had pulled off a dramatic rescue mission in a thrilling semi-final win over defending champions Pakistan, the younger Hussey made sure Australia’s bowlers would have a score to defend.
Together with White, David Hussey - missed on 25 - put on fifty for the fifth wicket and then shared a stand of 47 with his brother.
David Hussey was run out in the last over, going for a second run, by Luke Wright’s throw from long-on to Kieswetter. He faced 54 balls with two sixes and two fours.
Left-arm quick Ryan Sidebottom took two wickets for 26 runs from his maximum four overs and off-spinner Graeme Swann a miserly one for 17.