Kevin Pietersen inspired England to a resounding win by 50 runs against giant-killers Zimbabwe after batting first and totalling a daunting 188-9 in their Twenty20 World Cup at Newlands on Thursday.
Pietersen smashed 79 from just 37 balls with seven fours and four sixes while skipper Paul Collingwood weighed in with 37 from 28 balls as Zimbabwe were brought down to earth after Wednesday's shock five-wicket victory over Australia.
In reply, the Africans were restricted to 138-7 with Wednesday's Man of the Match Brendan Taylor again top scoring with 47 from 39 deliveries.
Seamer Dimitri Mascarenhas (3-18) and leg spinner Chris Schofield (2-15) were the pick of the England bowlers who recovered well after an opening stand of 74 in just nine overs between Taylor and Vusi Sibanda (29).
Determined to take advantage of a short off-side boundary while facing left arm spinner Keith Dabengwa, Pietersen played three successive reverse sweeps for a six and two fours.
Dabengwa's over, the 13th of the innings, went for 22 and Zimbabwe's chances of containing England to a manageable score had disappeared.
Opening bowler Elton Chigumbura struck two early blows to leave England struggling at 20-2 but that success only served to bring Pietersen to the crease earlier than expected. Chigumbura finished with creditable figures of 4-31 from his four overs.
England next face Australia on Friday almost certain of qualifying for the Super Eight group stage while the Australians must win to go through ahead of Zimbabwe.
England: Darren Maddy, Matt Prior (wicketkeeper), Luke Wright, Kevin Pietersen, Paul Collingwood (captain), Andrew Flintoff, Owais Shah, Dimitri Mascarenhas, Chris Schofield, Stuart Broad, James Anderson.
Zimbabwe: Vusi Sibanda, Hamilton Masakadza, Chamu Chibhabha, Brendon Taylor (wicketkeeper), Elton Chigumbura, Stuart Matsikenyeri, Keith Dabengwa, Prosper Utseya (captain), Gary Brent, Tawanda Mupariwa.