The return of Kevin Pietersen galvanised England and he batted beautifully
So England - and the tournament organisers - can breathe again. Had the host nation been kicked out of the World Twenty20 after only three days, it would have really dented the competition's impact.
Happily, after a much improved and determined performance, Paul Collingwood's erratic team are guaranteed a place in the next round and how much better they played - and how much more focused they looked - than the timid, constrained group of players which was humiliated by the Netherlands.
Granted, Pakistan were hardly at the top of their game at The Oval, missing four chances in a poor fielding performance and then never threatening England's target right from the off, but the England players and supporters would have taken a victory at any cost, and the eventual 48-run margin represents quite a spanking in Twenty20.
The return of Kevin Pietersen galvanised England and he batted beautifully and although he was clearly hampered by his Achilles injury and in no mood to run sharp ones or twos, he found the boundary five times, and cleared it three times as England improved on their 14 fours against the Dutch with 18 fours and six sixes here.
Pietersen paced his innings of 58 from 38 deliveries perfectly after Luke Wright, the Man of the Match for his 34 from 16 balls and tidy bowling, set about Pakistan early.
Owais Shah then showed again his tremendously strong wrist-play as he and Pietersen added 66. The momentum kept going strongly, and 185 was a stiff target.
Pakistan were quickly 41-2 with two new batsmen at the crease, allowing Collingwood to turn to his spinners. Adil Rashid and the recalled Graeme Swann did a great job, slowing the rate to the extent that they conceded only 51 runs from their combined eight overs.
This left Pakistan with too much to do and as rain clouds gathered in the East, they slipped further and further behind on Duckworth-Lewis.
On this showing, England can still do well in this tournament but there is no guarantee that they will always play with this intensity.
There was a blemish in the field when a casual Ravi Bopara dropped a sitter at point - his fielding overall needs some work - but generally they played with a great deal of spirit.
They are now set to move into a tough Super Eight group including South Africa, India and Australia - if Ricky Ponting's side manage to qualify - but have at least escaped the ignominy of an early exit.