Kevin Pietersen has leapt to the defence of Chris Jordan after the fast bowler's horror over cost England dear in their T20 World Cup semi-final defeat against New Zealand.
Having posted 166-4 in Abu Dhabi, Eoin Morgan's men seemed on course for a place in Sunday's final when the Black Caps were restricted to 100-4 after 16 overs, leaving them needing 57 off only 24 balls.
It was there though that Jimmy Neesham turned the tide, hammering a four and two leg-side sixes off Jordan's 17th over which eventually went for 23.
The second maximum proved a pivotal moment as Jonny Bairstow appeared to catch Neesham as he moved towards the boundary before flicking the ball up to Liam Livingstone – but replays showed his knee had come into contact with the rope before he let go.
And the left-hander duly continued his assault, hitting another six of Adil Rashid and although he was then out for a dramatic 27 off 11 balls, the brilliant Daryl Mitchell finished the job with an over to spare, smashing 72 not out from 47 balls.
Afterwards, Sky Sports pundit Pietersen refused to blame Jordan, choosing instead to credit Neesham for his explosive knock.
Pietersen said: "Jordan is a fabulous cricketer. A great guy, we know well he trains, we know how much he's liked – not that you need to be liked to perform – but he's just a brilliant professional who you know was doing his best, but tonight, Neesham got him.
"How can you look back on it now and go he bowled rubbish, he bowled this or he bowled that? He may not have bowled well but the pressure exerted on him by Neesham got the job done for New Zealand."
Pietersen, who won the T20 World Cup with England in 2009, added the result emphasised the unpredictable nature of the short-format of the game.
"These things happen in T20 cricket," he continued.
"50-over cricket (has) more of a structure, more of a routine, more of a process to get through. T20 cricket – you saw what Neesham did there in the space of six balls.
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"It was almost game closed out and then Neesham goes and does what he does, what can you do?"
In his post-match interview, England coach Chris Silverwood also refused to point the finger at Jordan, saying: "You have to accept that someone will get you sometimes.
"He practices hard and he’s such a pro, so we can’t attribute it to whatever he does.”
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