Confident England to take on South Africa in World Twenty20
Boosted by their emphatic win against Pakistan and Kevin Pietersen's return to form, a confident England side will line-up against hot on form South Africa in the Super Eights of World Twenty20 in Bridgetown on Saturday.
Both teams produced clinical fare in their first Super Eights matches. While England outsmarted defending champions Pakistan by six wickets, South Africa saw off a brief New Zealand challenge to win by 13 runs.
Both teams will rely on their strong pace attack to notch-up the decisive edge for a semi-final berth.
England were unlucky to start their campaign with a loss against West Indies despite a good batting display as rain and Duckworth-Lewis calculations conspired against them. They were given a fright by Ireland in their must-win match before rain came this time to their rescue and England moved into the Super Eights on the basis of superior run rate.
Against Pakistan, England excelled in all departments. The new opening combination of Craig Kieswetter and Michael Lumb has looked good while Eoin Morgan has been brilliant with the bat. They badly wanted Pietersen to fire and he did against Pakistan. It is certainly their best batting line-up in limited overs cricket in a long time.
"Every single bloke from one down to nine or 10 can hit sixes. That's brilliant, a great improvement and great for English cricket," said Collingwood.
However, the captain sounded a note of caution ahead of the match against South Africa.
"There are a few areas to improve on, we were a bit sloppy at the end, but I was pleased with how we took the momentum back in the middle of Pakistan's innings."
The pacers Ryan Sidebottom, Stuart Broad, and Tim Bresnan have performed well while the slower bowlers Michael Yard and Graeme Swann have been equally to the task.
Collingwood is happy that Pietersen is among runs. "It was a great knock by KP against Pakistan. We all know what KP can do, and when he's in that kind of form he's very dangerous."
England beat South Africa by five wickets in a warm-up match in Barbados. South African captain Graeme Smith believes his team is peaking at the right time
"Every game in this competition is now crucial," Smith said.
"They (England) will have confidence but we faced them in a warm-up game so we have a pretty good idea how we'd like to play against them.
"If we can improve five or ten percent, then we will push England hard."
South African put on a challenging total of 170 for four against New Zealand with big-hitting Albie Morkel hitting five sixes in his 40 off 18 balls.
South Africa boast of a strong batting line-up and the shuffle up the order is showing good results. Smith opens the batting with veteran Jacques Kallis who had been in exceptional form in the Indian Premier League (IPL). With Herschelle Gibbs, AB de Villiers and Albie Morkel, the middle order looks formidable and the team can always fall back upon Jean Paul Duminy.
The bowling department has a sharp four-pronged pace attack of Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel, Charl Langeveldt and Jacques Kallis with variety and depth.
Off-spinner Johan Botha's return has also helped the team.