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England survived a tough challenge from the Netherlands in their World Cup opener at Nagpur on Tuesday, edging past the minnows by 6 wickets with 8 balls to spare. Batting first, the Netherlands posted a par score of 292/6 thanks to an outstanding century from star batsman Ryan ten Doeschate (119 from 100 balls) and useful contributions from most of the other batsmen. England though were on the money right from the start in their chase as half-centuries from skipper Andrew Strauss and Jonathan Trott meant that they were always in touch with the asking rate. Paul Collingwood and Ravi Bopara did the dirty work at the end, guiding England home with just about enough breathing room to spare.
Netherlands won the toss and got a quick start from their openers. Wicketkeeper batsman Wesley Barresi smashed the English bowlers all round the park and got good support from Alexei Kervezee (16) before the latter fell to a short ball from Tim Bresnan. Swann got Barresi stumped for 29 in the first over he bowled, the 12th of the innings, however the batsman had done his job as Netherlands had blunted the England pace attack while scoring at a healthy pace of just above 5 an over.
Tim Cooper and Ryan ten Doeschate got together through the middle overs putting on a partnership of 78 for the 3rd wicket. Cooper scored 47 before he got out to a soft dismissal chipping a Paul Collingwood delivery to short midwicket. Swann bowled exceptionally from the other end and was rewarded with the wicket of Bas Zuiderent, the only Dutch batsman to fail today.
Tom de Grooth came in to join Ten Doeschate and they started taking on the English bowlers as the ball changed after the 34th over. Their partnership added 64 more runs in just 10 overs. Ten Doeschate smashed 3 sixes getting to his hundred scoring at more than run a ball. Captain Peter Borren came out with a license to thrill and hammered the expensive James Andreson for three successive boundaries in one over. Borren raced to 35 off 24 balls. Ten Doeschate fell in the 49th over trying to clear the ropes one more time. His career best knock of 119 was a beautifully structured innings and included 9 fours in addition to the three maximums.
England were their own biggest enemy dropping as many as four catches in the field, including Ten Doeschate when he was only on 47. Their ground fielding was pretty ordinary too and were faced with the prospect of chasing down a rather stiff target of 293, albeit on a placid track. With the exception of Swann, who picked up 2-36, the bowling figures made appalling reading with Anderson conceding 72 from his 10 overs and Broad doing marginally better picking up 2 wickets for 65 runs.
The Dutch pace attack of Mudassar Bukhari, Berend Westdijk and Bernard Loots were no match for the English opening pair of Andrew Strauss and Kevin Pietersen. Strauss got off to a flyer, and Pietersen showed his willingness to play second fiddle to his skipper as the pair put on 105 runs for the opening wicket in under 18 overs. Pietersen fell for a patient 39 from 61 balls, but his replacement Jonathan Trott continued the good work, sharing a 61 run stand with Strauss before the skipper fell for 88 trying to clear the midwicket boundary.
Ian Bell joined Trott in the middle with the latter finding the gaps in the field with ease to reach to his 10th half century. Trott got out to a brilliant piece of keeping by Barresi off the bowling of Ten Doeschate. At this point England still needed 78 to win from 59 balls. Netherlands kept up the pressure picking up the vital wicket of Ian Bell who scored 33. Ravi Bopara came in and kept rotating the strike along with former captain Paul Collingwood who scored most of his runs on the leg side. The game appeared to be getting a bit tight towards the end, but Bopara finished things off with a flurry of boundaries, while Collingwood kept a cool head at the other end and made sure there was no reason for alarm.
England have a tough game coming up next as they face India at Bangalore on Sunday. The wicket there should be more to their liking, and the ball is likely to move around more than it did today in Nagpur. Netherlands meanwhile are up against the West Indies on Monday at Feroz Shah Kotla in Delhi, and would believe that they could well walk away with the points from that encounter.
Netherlands: Alexei Kervezee, Wesley Barresi (wk), Tom Cooper, Ryan ten Doeschate, Bas Zuiderent, Tom de Grooth, Peter Borren (c), Mudassar Bukhari, Pieter Seelaar, Bernard Loots, Berend Westdijk.
England: Kevin Pietersen, Andrew Strauss (c), Jonathan Trott, Ian Bell, Paul Collingwood, Ravi Bopara, Matt Prior (wk), Tim Bresnan, Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann, James Anderson.
Netherlands 292/6 in 50 overs (5.84 runs per over)
R ten Doeschate 119(110) G Swann 2-35
T Cooper 47(73) S Broad 2-65
England 296/4 in 48.4 overs (6.12 runs per over)
A Strauss 88(83) Ten Doeschate 2-47
J Trott 62(65) P Seelar 1-54
Also Read: South Africa vs West Indies
File Photograph Copyright: ICC World T20
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