Improving England warm to the task
England completed their World Cup preparations by inflicting a crushing defeat on Pakistan in their final warm-up game.
Wednesday's victory over Canada may have been far from convincing, but today's performance in Fatullah served as a timely reminder of England's potential on the grandest stage.
Having posted a challenging 273 on the sort of slow surface that one suspects will be typical of this tournament, they bowled Pakistan out for just 206.
It gave them a thoroughly efficient 67-run win, in which Kevin Pietersen shone with the bat, Stuart Broad once again with the ball and Paul Collingwood, encouragingly, with both.
Pietersen’s 66 from 78 balls was a sign of potential in his new guise at the top of the order, while Collingwood found welcome form by making 65.
Broad undermined Pakistan's pursuit with three new-ball wickets, and also accounted for Younus Khan, Pakistan's top-scorer with 80, among two further victims late on to give him figures of 5-25 from 8.1 overs. It was his second five-wicket haul in the space of three days.
Asked to bat first in this day-night fixture, England saw captain Andrew Strauss perish in only the third over, his second single-figure score in as many games.
He managed just one against Canada two days ago, and today was bowled via his inside edge for five as he aimed an unsightly heave at Shoaib Akhtar.
Jonathan Trott also failed to get going, and when left-armer Junaid Khan, who returned figures of 3-44, changed the angle by going round the wicket he was soon rewarded, clipping a bail as the batsman aimed to leg.
Pietersen, however, followed up his 24 opening the batting against Canada by dominating a third-wicket stand of 80 with Ian Bell.
Having gone to his half-century by lifting off-spinner Saeed Ajmal over long-on for six - to complement three fours in his innings - Pietersen looked set to press on to three figures before he was stumped coming down the track to slow left-armer Abdur Rehman.
Collingwood struggled early on, and Bell was stumped when he advanced looking to work Ajmal through the leg side, but Ravi Bopara struck the ball cleanly and ran well to help put on 82 with Collingwood in only 12 overs.
Bereft of form and confidence Down Under, Collingwood could afford a sigh of relief after going to 50 off 60 balls despite managing only two fours.
After Bopara holed out at long-on, Collingwood - without a half-century in his previous 11 one-day international innings - and Matt Prior kept the tempo high until the late clatter of wickets enabled Wahab Riaz to finish with 3-52.
In reply, Pakistan’s chase was immediately hampered by Broad, who was in irresistible form once again.
First, he had Mohammad Hafeez neatly caught at first slip by Strauss, before seeing off the Akmal brothers - Kamran leg before on off stump and Umar undone by low bounce to be bowled on the back foot.
Younus responded with some typically sensible batting, reaching a 70-ball half-century by mixing good running with the odd boundary.
But he needed support and, in the absence of the middle-order power usually provided by rested duo Shahid Afridi or Abdul Razzaq, it was not forthcoming.
Tim Bresnan, back after his calf injury, bowled accurately and, although James Anderson was a little rusty with the new ball, Strauss had plenty of back-up options.
Collingwood and Anderson bagged a wicket apiece when Asad Shafiq and then Ahmad Shehzad missed big hits and, with the required run-rate reaching nine an over, Misbah-ul-Haq was trapped in front by the former as he attempted to drive.
Younus was left with too much to do and his efforts proved in vain when he fell to the returning Broad, edging a wide ball to a diving Prior.
That proved the final nail in Pakistan’s coffin as England’s seamers finished the job to ensure they enter the tournament on the back of an impressive triumph.
Pietersen and Trott spent time off the field with what were later confirmed as minor knee and finger injuries respectively.