England beat Ireland by 48 runs in the World Cup Super Eight match at Providence in Guyana on Friday.
Paul Collingwood's fiery batting, backed with Andrew Flintoff's good bowling spell helped England win their first Super Eight tie despite lacking their usual 'punch'. The middle over revived the innings to channelise them to a competitive total of 266 runs. Collingwood was the Man of the Match.
Pacer Jimmy Anderson backfired against Ireland to dismiss opener Jeremy Bray in the maiden over. Soon, backing his own bowling Sajid Mahmood effected the run out of Eoin Morgan (2) with his supremely agile movement.
Though William Porterfield and Niall O'Brien batted together to pile 61 runs in over 15 overs, they failed to step-up the run rate. After facing a good deal of dot balls off Flintoff, Porterfield succumbed for 31 in the 19th over.
Freddie slid on his knees to grab the ball dismissing Andre Botha (18) off Monty Panesar's delivery. The spinner struck back to trap Kevin O'Brien leg before at 12. In the next over, part-time bowler Michael Vaughan dispatched Naill O'Brien, the highest scorer of the Irish innings with 63 off 88 balls.
The last four wickets toppled in quick succession to wind up the match. Skipper Trent Johnston (27) fell to Flintoff's delivery in the 45th over. Andrew White gave an easy catch to Paul Nixon behind the stumps to return at 38 off Collingwood's bowling.
Flintoff trapped Langford-Smith before despatching Kyle McCallan to end the match in 48.1 overs.
Electing to bat, England began their innings in a disastrous manner as the first wicket fell for just six on the board. Boyd Rankin's ball kept low and crashed into opener Ed Joyce's off stump, with the batsman having no idea where the ball was heading for.
Soon after, skipper Vaughan edged the ball off Rankin to the wicketkeeper for six runs as England were 23/2 in 5.2 overs. Ranking was evidently having a great day.
Breaking the 66-run stand between Kevin Pietersen and Ian Bell, Kevin O'Brien sent off the latter at 31. England now banked upon Pietersen's efforts but it was not long before McCallan got rid of the top-ranked batsman for 48.
Collingwood completed his 15th ODI half century after Johnston axed Freddie at 43. The duo compiled a 81-run partnership to bolster up the English innings. Morgan caught a fine catch at the mid-on to dismiss Paul Nixon (19) off Botha's delivery.
In the third ball of the last over, Johnston effected the run out of Collingwood. The batsman returned at 90 after firing some impressive shots. Ravi Bopara hit a boundary to end the innings in style.
England retained the same lineup that beat Kenya in the last Group C match in St Lucia, keeping all-rounder Bopara in favour of spinner Jamie Dalrymple.
Captain Johnston returned for Ireland after missing the last Group D loss to the West Indies because of a shoulder problem. The veteran fast bowler came back in place of John Moody.
England: Michael Vaughan (captain), Ed Joyce, Ian Bell, Kevin Pietersen, Paul Collingwood, Andrew Flintoff, Ravi Bopara, Paul Nixon, Jimmy Anderson, Sajid Mahmood, Monty Panesar.
Ireland: Jeremy Bray, William Porterfield, Eoin Morgan, Niall O'Brien, Andre Botha, Kevin O'Brien, Andrew White, Kyle McCallan, Trent Johnston (captain), David Langford-Smith, Boyd Rankin.