England needed 44 from Luke Wright on his World Cup debut to boost its total to 243 all out and a defendable score in its must-win Group B match with West Indies on Thursday.
Wright hit five fours coming in at No. 7 to save a struggling England after Andrew Strauss had opted to bat first at Chennai's MA Chidambaram Stadium.
With England playing for its World Cup survival, Strauss (31) and Jonathan Trott (47) made a rapid start before a mid-innings slump to 151-6.
Andre Russell took 4-49 for West Indies and legspinner Devendra Bishoo 3-34 on his international debut.
But Wright produced a late charge and England will be hopeful of victory after it successfully defended 171 on the same ground against South Africa.