PROVIDENCE, GUYANA // England qualified for the Super Eight stage of the Twenty20 World Cup after rain, which cost them a defeat on Monday, came to their rescue against Ireland yesterday. England were limited to a mediocre 120 for eight from their 20 overs in their final Group D match before the encounter was abandoned three overs into Ireland's run chase due to bad weather. Paul Collingwood's side progressed to the next stage after finishing second in the group, ahead of Ireland by virtue of a superior run rate.
Ironically, England lost a rain-hit opening encounter to West Indies on Monday when after posting an imposing 191 for five, the hosts were handed victory by the Duckworth-Lewis calculation system after reaching 60 for two. England lost their opening four batsman for just 49 runs as Ireland's bowlers applied the shackles on a slow, cracked surface. Kevin O'Brien inflicted the early damage, claiming the wickets of Michael Lumb and Kevin Pietersen before Eoin Morgan steadied England.
Morgan, playing against his former countrymen, hit 45 to help England pass 100. The rain came down early in Ireland's reply to the annoyance of England coach Andy Flower who was seen banging his desk in disgust. After a half-hour break, play resumed and England struck early with Lumb pulling off a stunning diving catch to dismiss Paul Stirling off the bowling of Ryan Sidebottom. But the rain returned and the match was abandoned with Ireland on 14 for one.