| James Anderson celebrates the wicket of Inzamam-ul-Haq at the Newlands Stadium Saturday. (Reuters)
Cape Town: James Anderson took four key wickets in an inspired spell to help England record a crushing 112-run upset win over Pakistan in World Cup Group A on Saturday.
The 20-year-old seam bowler completed figures of four for 29 in one 10-over spell as England passed their first major test of the tournament, bowling Pakistan out for just 134 to seal their third straight victory.
England’s first win over Pakistan in six matches left them needing to beat India on Wednesday to virtually guarantee qualification for the Super Sixes, an unimaginable situation following the Zimbabwe match boycott and last week’s laboured victory over Namibia.
The victory was England’s most significant in the World Cup since beating South Africa in the 1992 semi-finals and will have given a huge boost in confidence to a side recently battered in Australia.
Anderson’s dismissal of Inzamam-ul-Haq in the fourth over was followed next ball by Yousuf Youhana who was bowled by a fast, inswinging yorker to leave Pakistan reeling at 17 for three.
Anderson went on to remove Saeed Anwar and Rashid Latif to earn his second Man-of-the-Match award of the tournament.
Pakistan never recovered from their early losses and it was left to all rounder Craig White, three for 33, and Andrew Flintoff, two for 37, to apply the finishing touches.
After restricting England to 246 for eight, Pakistan were hopeful of victory and all seemed well when Shahid Afridi dumped Andy Caddick over the mid-on boundary in the second over.
Caddick struck next ball, though, when Afridi edged behind and in the following over Anderson delivered two body blows.
Inzamam was beaten by late swing to be caught in the gully and Youhana was knocked over by arguably the delivery of the tournament.
Flintoff removed Younis Khan in his first over when he top- edged a pull before Anderson ended Anwar’s painful stay at the crease, trapping the opener leg before for 29.
Some late hitting from Shoaib Akhtar, who struck three sixes in a frenetic 16-ball 43, added to the drama, but could not stop England claiming their first World Cup win over Pakistan since 1983.
The foundation of the victory was laid by half-centuries from Paul Collingwood and Michael Vaughan as England recovered from 59 for three and 118 for five to post a respectable total.
Vaughan made 52, sharing a half-century third-wicket with Alec Stewart (30) to rescue England from a poor start.
Both fell in quick succession, though, leaving Collingwood to compile a trademark unbeaten 66.
With good support from Flintoff (26), White (15) and Ashley Giles (17), Collingwood lifted England to a total that ultimately proved more than enough.
The wickets were shared around the Pakistan attack, with Waqar, and Afridi and Saqlain taking two apiece after England had elected to bat.
Shoaib was clocked at bowling a ball at 161.3kph (100.2 mph), unofficially the fastest delivery ever recorded, but he conceded 63 runs from nine expensive over.
Collingwood has grown in stature since making a century against Sri Lanka in Perth last December and his 73-ball innings came at a crucial time after England had slumped to 160 for six.
England lost wickets at key times as Pakistan threatened to take a firm hold of the match. The old double act of Waqar and Akram accounted for England’s top three with 59 on the board, but a half-century partnership between Vaughan and Stewart resurrected the innings.
Vaughan, caught off a no-ball when he was on nought, went on to make the most of his fortune, stroking seven fours in his third half-century in four one-day Internationals.
The reintroduction of Shoaib brought the crucial breakthrough, however, when Vaughan slashed a cut to backward point. (Reuters)