ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / News

England v Netherlands, Group B, World Cup 2011, Nagpur

England save themselves Oranje faces

Dileep Premachandran at the VCA Stadium

February 22, 2011

Comments: 34 | Text size: A | A

On the eve of this match, Andrew Strauss said: "How we win isn't as important as just winning." It will give him little satisfaction that his team took that literally, producing an unbelievably slipshod display in the field before Strauss and the rest of the batsman save themselves Oranje faces with a competent performance.

With four overs to go, England needed 33. They had six wickets in hand, so it wasn't quite squeaky-bum time, but it was close. Unfortunately for the Netherlands, they didn't have a Dirk Nannes or anyone of similar quality to put the foot on the throat. Ryan ten Doeschate, the star of the show, had bowled out, and Pieter Seelaar and Bernard Loots couldn't cope with the experience of Paul Collingwood and the free-stroking instinct of Ravi Bopara.

Four years ago, one of the Associate nations, Ireland, upset Pakistan at Sabina Park after a superb bowling display. The Netherlands failed to follow suit because they lacked that bit of quality with ball in hand. With Strauss and Kevin Pietersen starting so well, those that followed never had to take undue risks to chase down the runs.

Strauss spoke afterwards of how the team had come to Nagpur, "feeling comfortable and determined to start well", after an emphatic warm-up victory against Pakistan in Fatullah. But on a benign pitch where teams had crossed 300 thrice in four previous innings, the bowling plans were exposed.

Asked afterwards if the performance had been acceptable, Strauss said: "Certainly not with the ball and in the field. The last 10 overs were especially poor. We can't afford to drop that many chances. I thought 290 was far too many."

The quick bowlers had some success with the short ball early on, but were guilty of overusing it later in the innings. Once the ball had gone soft, it sat up and begged to be hit. Ten Doeschate and his team-mates duly obliged.

With no swing in the air and no reverse later on, James Anderson struggled right through. The length he bowled late on was perfect for the batsmen to have a swing at and there were too few yorkers, despite Stuart Broad taking two wickets by keeping it full.

"It was one of those pitches where it was hard to wrest momentum and hard to take wickets," said Strauss when asked to explain the pace bowlers' off-colour display. If there was a positive, he said, it was Graeme Swann, who bowled quite beautifully on his return to the side. "He was excellent, economical and threatening as well."

There were no teacups thrown, or TV sets smashed, in the dressing room at the interval, though Strauss did admit: "We were a little bit shell-shocked at what happened in the final 10 overs.

"I told the boys that the score wasn't that much above par. There was no point dwelling too much on what had happened. It was a bit of a shemozzle on the field."

Pietersen was guilty of trying to hit the ball too hard when England came out for the chase, but Strauss paced his 88 perfectly, making the most of far too many deliveries angled at his pads. The flick and glance were routinely used as the Netherlands let themselves down at a time when a wicket or two could have meant intolerable pressure.

As dismayed as he was with the first half of the game, Strauss was generous in his praise for the opposition. "You've got to give a lot of credit to the Netherlands," he said. "Ten Doeschate's done that a lot for Essex, but on the big stage it's a hard thing to do."

India await on Sunday, and as unconvincing as this performance was, both teams will start with two points. "Hopefully, India will take us lightly after this performance," said Strauss in a rare moment of levity. With Virender Sehwag and friends in such thumping form, being the unfancied underdog might just be England's best bet. That, and some extra pace and bounce in the Bangalore pitch.

Dileep Premachandran is an associate editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by Mark on (February 24, 2011, 8:16 GMT)

@Nipun to be fair, the English media did give the Netherlands a lot of credit, especially ten Doeschate (as he has played english county cricket for years and years, so we know him quite well). As for if the game was against a top side like India I am sure there would still be criticism, if they had played like that against India it would have been a massive loss... 400+ score and run chase nowhere near. Lets just hope they step up against the best side in the tournament.

Posted by Andrew on (February 24, 2011, 5:09 GMT)

@voma - I'm fine mate, & you? I've said elsewhere that the W/Cup isn't won in the first week. So the result itself isn't of big concern other then the Poms won. The batting looked good - but the Dutch don't really have a strong bowling line up, so that will remain to be seen. Anderson is a worry in that you don't expect him to go for that many, but he also got belted in the ODIs in Oz, (I've forgotten about the Ashes already!!!). England won the T20 without him, I think they might need to look at Shahzad if he is fit. He seems to have a lot of variation which could be a good option there. Was only going for the Dutch as they were the underdogs, so under that premise I am actually going for a Pommie victory against the Indians & Saffas. They will need to improve about 300% to do that though!

Posted by joel on (February 23, 2011, 18:53 GMT)

Hello meety , how are you ? . . Right if the Dutch beat England we would be getting pratically the same comments and headlines we are getting here . If England had hammered them , England would still get very little credit ! . Yes they played very well the netherlands but it just wasnt quite enough . and i can assure you i am very worried if we bowl like that again . Andersons career in odi is nearly over . sadly

Posted by John on (February 23, 2011, 13:14 GMT)

@Meety, yeah I remembered that rule shortly after I posted. While England played horribly in this game, I'm not sure if they've reached their nadir yet. Maybe a little further for them to fall before they start improving.

Posted by Cricket on (February 23, 2011, 11:53 GMT)

I loved to see that minnow Dutch to WIN the game.

Posted by si on (February 23, 2011, 10:03 GMT)

Another abject allround display from the lacklustre Pietersen, 39 from 61 balls is hardly what he was required to do, especially after holding the management to ransom re the opening slot, or perhaps his new role is to graft out the runs and bat long.....well, he failed at that also. Add in the woeful 2 overs and the easiest of dropped chances, please reconsider your retirement from ALL International cricket and concentrate on playing near the wife and kids. The hype is well and truely over!!!

Posted by Prince on (February 23, 2011, 9:38 GMT)

Hardly any mentions of how well the Dutch & particularly Ryan Ten Doeschate played..just quibbles about England's woefulness ! Why are these so called big-nations so reluctant to give credit to these lesser sides ? Had it been the Indians or the Australians,there would have been just the odd quibble ; now,since it's the Dutch,there's just the odd praise ! Ridiculous & shameful !

Posted by Deon on (February 23, 2011, 8:38 GMT)

Ten Doeschate is to ODI cricket what Kallis is to Test cricket. And they grew up virtually next door to each other! (Goodwood and Pinelands are adjacent suburbs in Cape Town.)

Posted by Junaid on (February 23, 2011, 7:36 GMT)

it is now confirmed.....england are not WC winning material so now the teams left who can wiin WC are Pakistan and SA only

Posted by Andrew on (February 23, 2011, 6:27 GMT)

@ Something_Witty - I think because Nannes after the T20 W/Cup started playing for Oz - he would have to re-qualify (4yrs). I reckon because he is apparantly surplus to Oz needs he should of been allowed to play for the Dutch. I have a smirk about what COULD of been if he played & knocked over an early wicket or two!!!!

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Dileep PremachandranClose
Dileep Premachandran Associate editor Dileep Premachandran gave up the joys of studying thermodynamics and strength of materials with a view to following in the footsteps of his literary heroes. Instead, he wound up at the Free Press Journal in Mumbai, writing on sport and politics before Gentleman gave him a column called Replay. A move to MyIndia.com followed, where he teamed up with Sambit Bal, and he arrived at ESPNCricinfo after having also worked for Cricket Talk and total-cricket.com. Sunil Gavaskar and Greg Chappell were his early cricketing heroes, though attempts to emulate their silken touch had hideous results. He considers himself obscenely fortunate to have watched live the two greatest comebacks in sporting history - India against invincible Australia at the Eden Gardens in 2001, and Liverpool's inc-RED-ible resurrection in the 2005 Champions' League final. He lives in Bangalore with his wife, who remains astonishingly tolerant of his sporting obsessions.
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