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 yesterday's shock five-wicket victory over Australia.
Zimbabwe's fielding was once again brilliant -- especially their catching -- but Pietersen removed that threat by hitting the ball into the crowd, often with breathtaking ingenuity.
Determined to take advantage of a short off-side boundary while facing left arm spinner Keith Dabengwa, Pietersen played three successive reverse sweeps resulting in 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 appeared to have gone.
Opening bowler Elton Chigumbura struck two early blows to leave England struggling at 20-2 but that success brought Pietersen to the crease earlier than expected. Chigumbura finished with creditable figures of 4-31 from his four overs.
REUTERS PDS AS2136