Tuesday, February 22, 2011

World Cup: England labour to six-wicket victory over Netherlands

NAGPUR: England laboured to a thrilling six-wicket victory over the Netherlands in a Group B match to avert what could have been the first upset of the World Cup on Tuesday.


The Netherlands batsmen, especially the South Africa-born Ryan ten Doeschate (119), thrived on England's shoddy bowling and sloppy fielding to power the team to 292/6, a target that seemed quite a test for their opponents' tweaked batting order.

England's chase got off to a resounding start with Andrew Strauss (88) and Kevin Pietersen (39) providing a rollicking 105-run stand before they lost four wickets to find themselves in a spot of bother.

Paul Collingwood's (30) experience and Ravi Bopara's (30) improvisation came in handy as England survived some torrid times before completing the tricky chase with eight balls to spare.

Having stunned England in the 2009 Twenty20 World Cup, the Dutch upstarts seemed up to more mischief at the Vidarbha Cricket Association where they batted as if to salvage the reputation of the associate teams which, the game's governing body believes, have no business being in the World Cup.

Ten Doeschate clobbered three sixes and nine fours in his 110-ball knock and starred in three 50-plus partnerships to provide the cornerstone of the Netherlands's innings.

He added 78 runs with Tom Cooper (47), 64 with Tom de Grooth (28) and 61 with skipper Peter Borren (35 not out) to set a stiff target for Strauss and his men.

After Borren had opted to set a target rather than chasing one, openers Alexei Kervezee (16) and Wesley Barresi (29) looked quite at ease against the English pacers before change bowlers collaborated with stumper Matt Prior to remove both.

Barresi, having hit three fours off Stuart Broad's third over, top edged a Tim Bresnan delivery and Kervezee fell to Prior's sharp stumping in Graeme Swann's first over.

Ten Doeschate ensured there was no panic in the Dutch camp. He offered dogged resistance in the company of former Australia under-19 player Cooper, consolidated the innings with de Grooth before providing the late charge with Borren.

Borren was fortunate to be called back despite being bowled by Broad as England had one extra fielder outside the circle in that powerplay over.