Even before England got down to playing Canada, the World Cup Group C match was overshadowed by the news of Andrew Flintoff being omitted from the starting line-up and stripped of the vice-captaincy because of a late night drinking binge.
After losing the first match to New Zealand, England had to beat Canada to stay in the race for a place in the Super Eights.
Ed Joyce hit 66 to give them a fine start and England looked cruising towards a big score. But former Guyana left-armer spinner Sunil Dhaniram took three wickets for seven runs in 11 balls as England declined from 153 for one to 161 for four in the 36th over.
It was left to Paul Collingwood to perform the rescue act with a superb knock of 62.
His fifth wicket stand of 81 with Ravi Bopara (29) helped England post a healthy 279 for 6 in their 50 overs.
That England could plunder 98 runs in the final overs was mainly due to Collingwood's aggressive fine innings.
He finished on 62 not out off 48 balls, inclusive of four boundaries and a six, as England registered a 51-run victory.
A spectacular fielder at backward point or in the covers, Collingwood is a useful medium-pace bowler and intelligent batsman who works the ball around cleverly. He was also primarily responsible for England's upset win in the tri-series in Australia.
Also see: Hodge cements Australia credentials
Photograph: Getty Images
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