GROS ISLET, St Lucia (Reuters) - England beat Canada by 51 runs in their World Cup Group C clash on Sunday, but the game was overshadowed by the death of Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer and Andrew Flintoff being dropped.
Ed Joyce hit 66 and Paul Collingwood an unbeaten 62 to help England to 279 for six and put their World Cup campaign back on track following defeat to New Zealand on Friday.
They now need to beat Kenya on Saturday to qualify for the next stage.
Canada, who lost their first match to Kenya on Wednesday, could only manage 228 for seven in reply but it was their highest ever World Cup score and they never looked like being bowled out against a limp England attack.
England all-rounder Flintoff was omitted and stripped of the World Cup vice-captaincy after a late night drinking binge following Friday’s three-wicket defeat by New Zealand.
Flintoff was one of six players to be fined for the breach of team discipline but James Anderson, Ian Bell, Paul Nixon and Liam Plunkett remained in the side.
“With what’s happened over the last 48 hours, the victory was the most important thing,” captain Michael Vaughan told a news conference.
Joyce, who formerly played for Ireland and watched their victory over Pakistan on St Patrick’s Day on Saturday, was dropped twice but came back into form after struggling so far in the West Indies.
He fell when he was bowled by spinner and fork-lift truck driver Sunil Dhaniram attempting an audacious reverse sweep.
Joyce had shared an opening partnership of 101 with Vaughan before the captain was caught at backward point by his opposite number John Davison off Abdool Samad for 45.
England stuttered in the middle overs with 38-year-old Dhaniram picking up three quick wickets, including Kevin Pietersen caught and bowled for five, with only eight runs added.
All-rounder Ravi Bopara, making only his second one-day international appearance as the replacement for Flintoff, looked composed at the crease before departing in a similarly embarrassing fashion to Joyce for 29.
Canada, who were labeled a village team by their captain after the Kenya game, at one stage threatened another huge World Cup shock 24 hours after Ireland’s win over Pakistan and Bangladesh’s defeat of India.
Ashif Mulla was the only Canadian to score a half century with 58 but two wickets each for Bopara and Plunkett kept Canada in check.
England’s final group game is against Kenya on Saturday with New Zealand first facing Kenya and Canada on Tuesday and Thursday respectively. The top two will qualify for the Super Eights.
The seven-week long World Cup culminates in the Barbados final on April 28.