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England struggles but wins

England tiptoed to a nervous four-wicket victory over renowned giant-killer Bangladesh at the World Cup to preserve its chances of reaching the semifinal.

After bowling Bangladesh out for 143 runs on the day the championship finally arrived in Barbados, England collapsed to 110 for six wickets Wednesday.

Playing as if walking on eggshells, it then went 22 balls without a run before Paul Collingwood and Paul Nixon dragged the team over the finish line.

Although England still could make it to the semifinal by beating South Africa and West Indies in its last two Super Eight games, it shows few signs that it is capable of winning the title.

England's only victories have been against Canada, Kenya, Ireland and Bangladesh, all teams it should beat comfortably. It has lost to title contenders Australia, New Zealand and Sri Lanka.

"We've got over the line, and we've got the two points," Michael Vaughan, the captain, said. "The game against South Africa is gearing up like a quarterfinal of the World Cup. We are in a position where if we win the last two games we reach the semifinal, but our performance will need to improve."

New Zealand is tied at eight points with Australia at the top of the standings, with Sri Lanka even with South Africa at six. England has four points.

After its surprise 67-run victory over South Africa and a triumph over India in the group games, Bangladesh gave England a fright as well.

After Vaughan won the toss and decided to bowl first, wickets began to tumble. Bangladesh slid to 65 for six wickets after only 15.2 overs. Habibul Bashar's dismissal had an element of farce. Vaughan dropped a routine catch off Shahriar Nafees. He flung the ball to Nixon, the wicketkeeper, in frustration only to find that Bashar had started running and was easily out.

When England replied it, too, lost wickets steadily to the spin of Abdur Razzak and Mohammad Rafique. It was still 34 runs short when Collingwood and Nixon came together. After Nixon hit a six in the 40th over, the two batsmen then went 22 more balls before the next run as they nudged carefully to victory.

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source - iht.com

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