Pietersen blockbuster twists and turns
Posted in ICC World Twenty20
Who writes Kevin Pietersen’s scripts?
The latest is straight out of Hollywood, or perhaps Bollywood given Pietersen’s Indian Premier League connection.
England’s premier batsman reminded everyone why he is in a league of his own with consecutive man-of-the-match displays at the World Twenty20.
The powerful right-hander’s unbeaten 73 guided England to a slightly nervy but nevertheless emphatic six-wicket Super Eight win over defending champions Pakistan on Thursday.
Better was to come yesterday when Pietersen played one of his finest innings - 53 from 33 balls featuring eight fours and a six - to set up a 39-run demolition of his native South Africa.
Those performances came after the Guyanese rain had threatened to send England and Pietersen home on the completion of the group stage.
The 29-year-old, born in Natal, never shies from cherishing success against the Proteas.
Having survived an edge between wicketkeeper and slip early in his innings, he said afterwards: "Playing against South Africa - (Mark) Boucher and (Jacques) Kallis missing one through slip - was good fun."
Such playful comments in the post-match press conference were overshadowed though by the latest twist in the Pietersen success story: the announcement that he would return home for the birth of his first child.
It cannot be said this came out of the blue; England had confirmed prior to the competition that Pietersen would be allowed to fly back to the UK when his pop star wife Jessica Taylor was due to give birth.
He plans to return to the West Indies on Wednesday in time for England’s likely semi-final on Thursday or Friday, meaning he would only miss their final Super Eight encounter - versus New Zealand tomorrow in St Lucia.
Only the equivalent of a hung parliament - with no side winning an overall majority - could prevent England progressing from Group E.
Barring such complications - in St Lucia or with the birth - Pietersen’s return date could become a short-term obsession among England fans.
Perhaps unlikely is media interest on the scale of that in David Beckham and Wayne Rooney’s fractured metatarsals ahead of the 2002 and 2006 football World Cups respectively.
However, it is fair to say that everyone will be hoping for a healthy birth in the next few days.
Then the only threat to Pietersen’s swift return to the Caribbean would be volcanic ash, but that would be an anticlimax unworthy of the story so far.