Friday 30 March 2007 

Collingwood Helps England Past Irish

Paul Collingwood's late flurry with the bat and four wickets from Andrew Flintoff gave England a 48-run win over rank outsiders Ireland in their World Cup Super Eights match on Friday.

Collingwood smashed 90 including three sixes to help England add 65 runs in the last five overs and amass 266 for seven, having looked set for a meagre score against the World Cup debutants.

Ireland's reply started badly when Ravi Bopara took a low catch at gully to remove Jeremy Bray for a first-ball duck with the fifth delivery of James Anderson's opening over.

An excellent piece of fielding by England paceman Sajid Mahmood off his bowling then accounted for Eoin Morgan to leave Ireland on 11 for two.

William Porterfield made a useful 31 and Niall O'Brien stroked 63 but the Irish became stuck in a rut and failed to threaten England's total, being bowled out for 218 with 11 balls remaining.

Flintoff grabbed four for 43 but three of his wickets came late on as Ireland hit out in a bid to boost their slow run rate.

The win gave England their first Super Eight points having failed to carry any through from the group stage after losing to New Zealand. Ireland have no points.

England's bowling attack showed some good discipline but their World Cup hopes seem slender as they look unlikely to bowl out any top side on such slow West Indian pitches.

Part-time off-spinner Michael Vaughan even brought himself on to bowl for an impressive nine overs and bagged the wicket of Niall O'Brien.

EARLY PRESENT

Ireland, who shocked Pakistan to reach the second round, also exposed England's fragile top order, reducing them to 23 for two and 113 for four before Collingwood salvaged the innings.

England opener Ed Joyce, who played for Ireland until 2005, gave his former team mates an early present when he left a Boyd Rankin ball on off stump to be bowled for one.

Paceman Rankin struck again in the sixth over when Vaughan, who elected to bat, edged a tentative shot behind for six.

Vaughan, who made the World Cup after recovering from a longstanding knee problem and a hamstring injury, has yet to make a one-day hundred in 81 internationals and his poor form continues to contrast with his impressive captaincy.

The 32-year-old hit 26, 45 and one in the group stages.

Kevin Pietersen and Ian Bell then combined to add 66 before Bell was adjudged to have gloved medium-pacer Kevin O'Brien to his brother Niall O'Brien standing up behind the stumps.

The England number three took 74 balls to make 31.

Pietersen soon followed two short of a deserved fifty before Collingwood and Flintoff (43) shared a crucial 81.

© Reuters 2007