Cape Town:South Africa stifled England for a well deserved victory in their Super Eights encounter at Cape Town on Sunday.
Albie Morkel, named Man of the Match, turned the game in their favour, and then the pace attack bowled cleverly to restrict England.
Chasing 155, England suffered a huge setback in the very first over when opener Luke Wright fell to Shaun Pollock for a duck without a run on the board.
Their chase slumped futher when a disastrous run out brought an end to Pietersen's innings. He scored 15 off 14 deliveries before a unintentional collision with Pollock found him well short of his crease.
One ball later, Paul Collingwood headed back to the pavilion with the scoreboard reading 27 for three and England in deep trouble.
Prior and Owais Shah then stemmed the rot with a 55-run partnership before the former was dismissed by Morkel for 32 runs and the required run rate constantly climbing up.
Shah looked great touch during his 36-run knock which included one boundary and two huge sixes and gave the chase just the impetus it needed before he was done in by Morkel who took his wicket tally to two.
Andrew Flintoff kept England's hopes alive but all was lost when the all-rounder was castled by Johan van der wath in the 19th over for 17 runs.
A late flurry by A Morkel spurred South Africa to 154 for eight after being put in to bat by England.
After being reduced to 94 for 6, Morkel changed the game around with his 43-run cameo from 20 deliveries.
Stuart Broad gave England a breakthrough first up when he bowled out south African opener JP Duminy for a duck on his first delivery of the match.
He struck soon after to remove a dangerous Graeme Smith for 19 runs to give England a headstart.
In the very next over, Andrew Flintoff dealt a further blow as AB de Villiers walked back to the pavilion for 18 runs leaving South Africa in a spot of bother at 42 for three.
None of the Proteas' batsmen could convert their starts. Mark Boucher and Justin Kemp stiched a 49-run partnership before Boucher fell to Chris Schofield for a run a ball 29, which included three boundaries.
England bowlers kept getting wickets at regular intervals to peg back South Africa. Shaun Pollock fell to James Anderson for a duck in the 14th over and Dimitri Mascarenhas jolted the Proteas further as he had Kemp caught out for 21.
Albie Morkel then took guard and treated the spectators to some massive hitting as he smashed Schofield for three consecutive sixes in the 18th over.
England have made two changes, Jimmy Anderson and Jeremy Snape have come in place for James Kirtley and Darren Maddy.
England: Matt Prior (wk), Luke Wright, Kevin Pietersen, Paul Collingwood (capt), Owais Shah, Andrew Flintoff, Dimitri Mascarenhas, Chris Schofield, Jeremy Snape, Stuart Broad, James Anderson.
South Africa: Graeme Smith, Jean-Paul Duminy, AB de Villiers, Justin Kemp, Mark Boucher (wk), Shaun Pollock, Albie Morkel, Johan van der wath, Vernon Philander, Morne Morkel, Makhaya Ntini.