Unimpressive England manage six-wicket win over Netherlands

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

NAGPUR - Skipper Andrew Strauss scored a fine 88 as England survived a major scare to beat the Netherlands by six wickets with eight balls to spare in their opening World Cup Group B match here Tuesday.

England had to sweat it out for the win, but Paul Collingwood and Ravi Bopara scored an unbeaten 30 runs each to take the team home safely, chasing down a tough target of 293 runs at the Vidarbha Cricket Association (VCA) Stadium in Jamtha.

The Dutch, who had shocked England in the 2009 Twenty20 World Cup, were impressive as they took advantage of poor bowling and abject fielding to score 292 for six in 50 overs. All-rounder Ryan ten Doeschate struck his blistering fourth century, 119 off 110 balls, and then picked up two wickets with his medium pace. The South African born player was also named the Man of the Match.

England were off to a good start with their new opening pair of Kevin Peitersen (39) and Strauss adding 105 runs. A mistimed drive off left-arm spinner Pieter Seeler saw Pietersen departing after Dutch captain Peter Borren took a nice catch at cover.

Jonathan Trott (62) and Strauss then kept the run flow going, but the runs dried up in the middle overs after the captain departed in his attempt to pull Mudassar Bukhari, only to be caught by Tom Cooper in the deep.

Ten Doeschate picked up Trott and Ian Bell (33) in successive overs to put England in a tight spot. But Collingwood and Bopara held their nerves and added 55 runs for the fifth wicket to complete the successful chase.

Earlier, electing to bat on a placid track, the Netherlands piled on their highest total against a ICC full-member nation and bettered their 230 against England in the 1996 World Cup.

The England bowling looked clueless and their sloppy fielding did not help their cause either. Graeme Swann was the best bowler for England with his two wickets for 35.

Alexie Kervezee (16) and wicketkeeper Wesley Barresi (29) gave the Netherlands a breezy start with their 36-run opening stand but the day belonged to Doeschate, who came in the 12th over.

Doeschate controlled the Netherlands innings and batted till the 49th over. He was involved in three crucial partnerships - of 78 runs with Tom Cooper (47) for the third wicket, and later with Tom de Grooth (28) and skipper Peter Borren for the fifth (64) and sixth (50) wickets.

Doeschate was given a life at 47. A loft off Swann landed in a no-man’s land behind the bowler with James Anderson and Pietersen standing frozen as the ball fell in between them.

Doeschate’s spirited knock was brought to an end by Stuart Broad when he was caught by Ravi Bopara at the square leg boundary. Doeschate’s knock included nine fours and three sixes.

Borren and Bukhari (6) added unbeaten 18 runs for seventh wicket. In a dramatic final over, Borren was lucky to survive when Collingwood at midwicket failed to take his required position inside the fielding circle. A no-ball was signalled, Borren was recalled and then Swann dropped a sitter at third man to give Bukhari a life.

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