Collingwood revels in return to form

ICC Cricket World Cup 2011

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Paul Collingwood

Paul Collingwood enjoys a timely return to form, making a rapid 65 to help England to a convincing 67-run victory over Pakistan in Fatullah

Paul Collingwood could not hide his delight after enjoying a timely return to form with the bat as England completed their World Cup preparation with a comfortable 67-run victory over Pakistan.

The 34-year-old has endured a torrid time recently, having failed to register a half-century in 11 one-day international innings - not to mention a miserable Ashes campaign with the bat.

His performances were of particular concern for England given batting lynchpin Eoin Morgan was ruled out of the showpiece last week.

But, on a day when Kevin Pietersen and Stuart Broad also impressed, Collingwood was back in the runs and again among the wickets, claiming 3-48 to add to his 65.

“On a personal note, it was nice to get some runs,” he said. “It’s been quite a frustrating few months for me, not being able to contribute as much as I would have liked.

“Even though it was a warm-up game, I thought it was important I spent some time in the middle and tried to get that confidence going again. Thankfully, it worked out well.”

Collingwood admitted he has undergone plenty of soul-searching about what might have been amiss with his batting.

“When it goes on for a while, you start to look for all sorts of reasons - technique, everything,” he said.

“But in the end, you’ve just got to keep working, know it’s still there and it will eventually come right."

It did today, putting Collingwood in good heart for England’s first Group B match against Holland in Nagpur on Tuesday.

“I probably had a little bit of luck early doors; sometimes you need that,” he added. “I probably just gave myself a little bit more of a chance to get myself up to 20.

Kevin Pietersen

Kevin Pietersen goes to 50. He later won high praise from Abdur Rehman, who announced: "Pietersen is a great player."

“I guess when I’ve been taking the risks in the last 10 or so innings, that haven’t been coming off, it can be the difference between getting out and going on and making a big contribution.”

On another note, Abdur Rehman became the latest in a long list of left-arm spinners to dismiss Pietersen, who top-scored with 66 in England's 273 all out.

But Rehman has no doubts about either the England batsman’s prowess, or that of Pakistan’s veteran fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar, who conceded more than six runs an over, for the wicket of England captain Andrew Strauss.

“Pietersen is a great player and he looked really good,” Rehman said. “Shoaib is our best bowler. He will be important for us in this tournament.”

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