England through after wash-out
England sneaked into the ICC World Twenty20 Super Eights after a rainy no-result to their Group D shoot-out with Ireland in Guyana.
Paul Collingwood’s team could muster only 120 for eight on an awkward pitch after being asked to bat first at the Providence Stadium.
Ireland’s reply was twice interrupted and they got as far as 14 for one off 3.3 overs, before a lengthy delay and the 5pm cut-off time was reached.
International Cricket Council rules stipulate that five overs of a second innings must be completed to constitute a Duckworth-Lewis result - and since that was not possible, England progress alongside Group D winners West Indies thanks to a far superior run-rate than Ireland.
Ireland were therefore left to rue their collapse last week against the hosts, which put their run-rate in such a parlous and uncompetitive state.
England were indebted to their Dublin-born middle-order batsman Eoin Morgan’s 45 off 37 balls for helping them set a moderately testing target, which became irrelevant amid the subsequent downpours.
England, controversially defeated on the D/L method by West Indies yesterday, once again lost the toss - and a quick glance at the clouds convinced Ireland captain Will Porterfield to bat second.
England stuttered to 49 for four at the midway point of their innings as Trent Johnston and 17-year-old George Dockrell exploited the conditions with miserly spells.
But Morgan kept his head, initially again in company with Luke Wright, and cashed in at the death with some typically inventive and well-placed shots.
Even he eventually picked out long-on to go in the final over, leaving Ireland’s batsmen the task of finishing what their bowlers started - something they singularly failed to do when they were bowled out for only 68 by West Indies.
Michael Lumb was the first England batsman to depart, clipping Kevin O’Brien’s first ball firmly to backward square-leg, where Boyd Rankin took a low catch.
England’s power-hitting plan could not get going on a slow surface, and Craig Kieswetter was soon out of the equation too when he set off for an impossible single to midwicket and was just unable to regain his ground despite a dive.
Collingwood went in the same Johnston over, edging to slip for a third-ball duck, and Kevin Pietersen suffered an action-replay of his dismissal yesterday, picking out deep midwicket with a pull.
Morgan and Wright were therefore once again left with the significant challenge of trying to set a defendable target, but this time from a much more unpromising position.
Against West Indies they did not panic and picked up the pace to add 76 in the last five overs of what Collingwood later described as a “near-perfect” innings.
They were never going to be able to repeat that trick on a much slower surface which negated fluent strokeplay.
A handy stand of 41 in seven overs did follow, however, until Wright, having just hit England’s only six - compared to the record 11 they smashed 24 hours earlier - toe-ended a catch inside out to extra-cover off a Rankin full-toss.
Morgan did his manful best with the remainder of England’s batting resources. Whether it would be enough, though, was open to considerable question - until the predictable rain did its worst.
After the second of two false starts to the Ireland innings, Paul Stirling pulled Ryan Sidebottom flat to deep midwicket, where Lumb made considerable ground to his left before taking a fine diving catch.
The possibility remained that Ireland could return to outsprint England to a revised total, with Niall O’Brien and Porterfield in situ.
They were presented with an updated target of 61 from nine overs after the weather intervened, but rain ultimately robbed them of their chance to pull off an upset.
It also meant England reached the knockout stages despite not winning a game.