Pietersen guides England home
A Kevin Pietersen batting masterclass propelled England to a three-wicket victory over West Indies in England’s final match of the ICC Champions Trophy.
Pietersen guided his side home with his 10th one-day international fifty as the victory target was achieved in the second last over as the Hampshire batsman finished undefeated on 90.
Pietersen levelled the scores with a blistering straight six off Dwayne Bravo but Sajid Mahmood had the pleasure of hitting the winning runs in Ahmedabad.
England's opening pair of Andrew Strauss and Ian Bell reached their first telling partnership of the competition. They put on 82 runs, in response to West Indies' total of 272 for four, before the former was bowled shortly after reaching his fifty.
Bell also went immediately after recording his half-century - his seventh in one-day internationals - run out by Brian Lara.
They had looked to be going along without any problems as Fidel Edwards and Jerome Taylor struggled to find their line and length on a good batting track.
But the introduction of Gayle to the attack troubled the England batsmen and he was successful with his third ball, cramping Strauss for room and clipping off stump.
This brought Andrew Flintoff to the wicket, back at number three after being deposed by Pietersen against Australia last Saturday.
Flintoff (25) performed the pinch-hitting role with flair, but tried one shot too many when he hoicked Gayle to long-on where Taylor ran round to complete the catch.
Collingwood went first ball, edging Gayle to the solitary slip, Bravo.
Michael Yardy fell to a dubious catch by Bravo in the deep but Pietersen continued to attack and brought up his fifty with a flashing square-drive to the boundary as England kept up the required run-rate.
Chris Read gave Pietersen his support until he chipped a catch from a slow delivery from Bravo to mid-wicket.
Marlon Samuels dismissed Jamie Dalrymple for eight as England tried to push the accelerator button before Mahmood and Pietersen saw them home.
The Gayle-Bravo combination had also worked well in the West Indies innings as they put on 174 for the second wicket.
Gayle was out shortly after reaching his century, but Bravo achieved his maiden one-day international hundred, bringing up the landmark with a flick through square-leg for four - the 12th of his 124-ball innings.
Jon Lewis, however, had repaid the selectors' faith as he made England's first breakthrough of the match, taking the wicket of Shivnarine Chanderpaul.
Lewis has been sitting on the sidelines for the earlier part of the competition, but he struck with his 24th ball to remove the West Indies opener leg before for 13.
Lewis bowled his 10 overs in a single spell, taking 1-35 in oppressive conditions after being brought in to the line-up at the expense of Harmison, who has been struggling for rhythm since returning from hip and back niggles.
Flintoff then brought himself into the attack, for his first bowl in an international match since June.
Wearing specially designed boots from Germany to minimise the risk of injury, he bowled a short spell of three overs. He then came back to bowl two further overs at the end of the innings as he stepped up his return to fitness before the Ashes.
England's spinners Jamie Dalrymple and Michael Yardy were also brought into the action quite early on but were unable to stem the flow of runs.
Gayle and Bravo both reached their fifties within an over of each other as they continued to take the attack to the England bowlers.
They had already created a strong platform for West Indies, however, before Gayle (101) was run out by Flintoff in the 43rd over.
He responded late to a call from Bravo at the striker's end, just after bringing up his century, as Flintoff threw the ball in from mid-off and wicket-keeper Chris Read whipped off the bails.
Read had earlier missed a stumping chance off Dalrymple, with Bravo just managing to get his foot back, after hitting the off-spinner for six the previous ball.
Bravo was then joined by Ramnaresh Sarwan and the two of them looked to make the most of the last seven overs, their 50 partnership coming up in just 32 balls.
But Sarwan (29) drilled the following ball straight to Collingwood at mid-on, where he took a simple catch.
This brought Brian Lara to the crease, with two overs remaining to bat, but his stay at the wicket did not last that long as Sajid Mahmood bowled the West Indies captain with a full toss for just three.
Bravo (112 not out) and Marlon Samuels (three not out) managed to see out the remaining three balls of the innings as West Indies reached the fourth highest score of the tournament.