Kevin Pietersen shook off his year of bad form as he blitzed his way to an unbeaten 111 runs off 98 deliveries in the third ODI at Dubai.
With the nine wicket win, thanks to Pietersen, England secured the ODI series win against Pakistan.
Pietersen, who was named Man of the Match for his spirited inning, said: “Most importantly we’re 3-0 up, so it’s a series win away from home.”
Pakistan, who batted first, had half their team ripped through by the England bowlers with just 97 runs on the board. However, Shahid Afridi and Umar Akmal dented England’s quest to reduce Pakistan to a low total, as the pair both recorded half centuries, en route to Pakistan’s 222.
The England pace bowlers were Pakistan’s trouble as Stuart Broad and Steven Finn picked up three wickets each, with James Anderson backing them up, getting two wickets of his own.
England replied in supreme form, as Captain Alastair Cook and his opening partner Pietersen recorded an opening partnership of 170 runs. Cook was unlucky as he fell 20 runs short on what would have been his third successive century.
Pietersen was extremely pleased to be back in form and hit a century, the last being at Cuttack in 2008. “I said I was not getting luck, I was getting starts and getting out but with a little bit of fortune I made runs today. I suppose I was a bit more positive this evening, looking to run at the ball, hit the ball” he said.
Once Cook departed, Eoin Morgan had a timely return to form as he smashed 24 runs from 32 balls.
Saeed Ajmal was Pakistan’s only wicket taking bowler, when he picked up the big wicket of Cook. Umar Gul, on the other hand struggled with his bowling all night after he gave away three no-balls in one over.
Pakistan Captain Misbah-ul-Haq, who credited England with the series win, said: “Full credit to England, the way they are performing, their seamers are putting pressure on our batting line-up and restricting us – and it was a wonderful performance by their batsman.”
Captain Cook, who was majorly disappointed with the test series whitewash, was thrilled to see England back to its dominant form again. “We didn’t play well in the Test series but that doesn’t make us bad players over night … We’ve put in some really good performances and can take credit for that. Win or lose, you work hard as a team. We kept our chins up through the Test series and stuck to our guns and got the results” he said.
With England clinching the series, they will look forward to the final ODI and then looking to sweep Pakistan in the three Twenty20 Internationals the two sides will play.