England kept the same team which won the last first round match against Kenya, while Ireland captain Trent Johnston was back after missing his team's last match against the West Indies due to a shoulder injury.
Rankin delivers early blows: Eire seamer Boyd Rankin made early inroads into England top order by removing both the openers cheaply.
He bowled former Irish teammate Ed Joyce for one and then had captain Michael Vaughan caught behind by Niall O'Brien for 6 leaving England struggling at 23-2.
England are 45-2 after 10 overs in their World Cup Super Eights match against Ireland at Providence on Friday. Ian Bell was on 17 with Kevin Pietersen on 11.
England: Michael Vaughan (capt), Ed Joyce, Ian Bell, Kevin Pietersen, Ravi Bopara, Paul Collingwood, Andrew Flintoff, Paul Nixon, James Anderson, Sajid Mahmood and Monty Panesar.
Ireland: Trent Johnston (capt), Kyle McCallan, William Porterfield, Andre Botha, Jeremy Bray, Dave Langford-Smith, Eoin Morgan, Kevin O'Brien, Niall O'Brien, Boyd Rankin and Andrew White.
Umpires: Billy Doctrove (WI) and Simon Taufel (Aus).