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Rain saves English blushes against Ireland

England held on to reach the Super Eight after heavy rain washed out their game against Ireland with the Irish well placed to cause a major upset having restricted England to a total of just 120-8.

Trent Johnston lead the way for the Irish conceding just 14 runs from his 4 overs as the Irish stunned England with a superb display of disciplined bowling as England stuttered to a total of 120 thanks in no small part to an superb innings by Eoin Morgan who topped scored with a priceless contribution of 45.

Ireland’s innings got under way but without two balls the rain had rolled in forcing the players off the pitch much to the annoyance of England coach Andy Flower who was seen thumping his desk in frustration.

The rain soon cleared within 30 minutes play was back under way and the restart saw Ryan Sidebottom strike with the final ball of his first over to dismiss Paul Sterling thanks to a stunning catch my Michael Lumb out on the boundary.

Sterling (0) smashed Sidebottom’s delivery through square leg but Lumb sprinted around the boundary to take a stunning diving catch to put England on top with Ireland 4-1.

Tim Bresnan increased the tension by conceding 2 runs in the next over as the rain clouds started to roll in again. Niall O'Brien smashed consecutive boundary to start Sidebottom’s next over as the rain started to fall again forcing another delay.

For the next hour the covers were repeatedly taken on and off as the cut of point of 16.59 local time slowly rolled around. With the rain still falling the game was officially abandoned 10 minutes to go much to the relief of the England players.

While Ireland were left to contemplate what might have been; England were left to celebrate reaching the Super Eight stages of the tournament.

Sidebottom to Stirling, OUT, 85.7 mph, what a catch! Michael Lumb, take a bow! The ball was short again and this time Stirling was waiting for it. He absolutely murdered it out to square leg and a boundary seemed a certainty, but Lumb sprinted round to take a brilliant diving catch metres from the rope. A superb effort, and Stirling is nonplussed as he trudges off

Having been put into bat by Ireland England got off to a cautious start on a slow pace less wicket scoring just 6 runs in the first over despite Michael Lumb edging the first delivery through the slips for a boundary.

After scoring runs with ease against the West Indies; Lumb and Craig Kieswetter found the going tougher against the Irish. With no life in the wicket the pair was happy to work the ball around the outfield picking up one’s and two’s.

The Irish kept the pressure up with disciplined bowler which was only punished by Lumb on a couple of occasion. During the opening overs the pair rode their luck a little with Kieswetter in particular lucky not to have been caught by Andre Botha in the 4th over.

With a partnership slowly growing Ireland struck to remove Lumb after Kevin O’Brien had been brought into the attack by skipper William Porterfield. The spinner struck with his first ball after Lumb (14) picked out Boyd Rankin at short fine leg to leave England 24-1.

After a nervous start Ireland started to increase the pressure on England and they were rewarded with the wicket of Kieswetter who was run out 8 balls after the dismissal of Lumb.

Having played the ball out to midwicket Kieswetter (13) attempted a suicidal single and was sent back by new partner Kevin Pieterson. Although the batsman appeared to cover his ground by diving forward with the bat replays showed at the moment the bails were taken off the stumps his bat bounced back off the ground.

With Ireland in control England had no time to recover as the Irish struck again three balls later after skipper Paul Collingwood (0) was caught in the slips by Botha to leave England 32-3 after 6.0 overs.

In comparison, at the end of the power play overs last night England were 59-1 against the West Indies. With three wickets down Morgan came to crease, just three years after playing for Ireland in the One Day World Cup in the Caribbean against Engalnd.

After losing three quick wickets Morgan and Pieterson started the process of rebuilding England’s innings, having looked to have steadied the ship with a partnership of 17 runs Pieterson (9) pulled a delivery from O'Brien straight into the hands of John Mooney at deep square.

In a similar situation to last night Morgan was joined at the crease by Wright. Whereas England were 88-4 against the West Indies the pair found themselves deep in trouble with the scoreboard showing 49-4.

They slowly took their time to get the partnership going with one’s and two’s before they attacked O'Brien in the 15th over scoring 13 runs including a six after O'Brien had bowled a crucial no ball.

With their partnership growing England were starting to feel more relaxed but the Irish struck back once again when Wright (20) toe ended a Rankin full toss to Porterfield at mid off to leave England 90-5 after 16.2 overs.

With the hopes of progressing to the Super Eights resting on the shoulders of Morgan the 23 year old tried his hardest to build a big total but on a slow wicket even Morgan struggled to build a match winning innings reaching 45 before he was caught by Gary Wilson out on the boundary at the end of the penultimate overs.

With Tim Bresnan (5) already in the dugout Graeme Swann scored a valuable 7 runs to give England a total of 121 to defend against an Irish batting line up that has struggled in recent games.

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