Belfast Telegraph

Monday 28 July 2014

England take charge

Andrew Strauss (left) and Kevin Pietersen

Kevin Pietersen and Andrew Strauss predictably got England off to a blistering start in Wednesday's World Cup Group B match against Ireland.

After Strauss won the toss, he and Pietersen (59 not out) immediately set about the opposition's new-ball pair Boyd Rankin and Trent Johnston as England raced to 107 for one after 15 overs.

They found the boundary almost at will, and Pietersen put a six against his name too when he hit Johnston over long-on from the crease.

Strauss, fresh from his career-best 158 in Sunday's tie against India at this same venue, was in a hurry again.

He had two minor moments of fortune, first mistiming a hook at Rankin which steepled just over George Dockrell's head on the fine-leg boundary for six.

That was on 10, and on 27 Strauss chipped first-change Alex Cusack inches short of midwicket.

Otherwise, there were no blemishes as England's openers took advantage of the initial powerplay fielding restrictions.

Pietersen reached his first one-day international 50 as an opener from 41 balls, having hit seven fours and a six, and went on to bring up the England hundred with a dismissive pull for another maximum off John Mooney.

On another very good pitch at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium, England already looked on course for a huge score - even after Strauss paid for an ambitious attempt to pull slow left-armer Dockrell and instead chopped the ball on to his stumps round his legs for 34 to end a stand of 91.

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