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England were made to sweat before eventually overcoming a Ryan ten Doeschate-inspired Netherlands side by six wickets in their World Cup Group B opener in Nagpur.
The Dutch minnows threatened a major upset when a superb career-best 119 from Essex all-rounder ten Doeschate helped them post 292, their highest ever score against a Test-playing nation.
However, half-centuries from captain Andrew Strauss (88) and Jonathan Trott (62) kept England well up with the required rate and another Essex man - Ravi Bopara (30 not out) - finished the job with just eight balls to spare.
Despite the victory, England know they must improve appreciably if they are to overcome pre-tournament favourites India in Bangalore on Sunday.
Bopara's cameo came on the back of a strong start from new-look England opening partnership Strauss and Kevin Pietersen.
The pair took England on to 50-0 from just 49 balls as Holland's new-ball bowlers found the going tough during the opening powerplay period.
Strauss was by far the more fluent of the openers and Pietersen fell to another left-arm spinner - Pietar Seelaar - when on 38, caught smartly by Dutch captain Peter Borren at extra cover.
Strauss had already registered his 27th ODI half-century by this point and he and Trott kept the scoreboard ticking over with scampered runs either side of the wicket.
But, with a sixth hundred on the horizon, the England captain eventually fell 12 runs short of the milestone, inexplicably pulling a short Mudassar Bukhari delivery to Tom Cooper running in from the midwicket boundary.
He trudged back to the pavilion with England on 166-2 and well up with the run rate, however Warwickshire duo Trott and Bell struggled to kick on as Holland's slow bowlers put the squeeze on.
The pair added 58, but no sooner had the batting powerplay been taken than did the third England wicket fall.
Trott, who moments earlier had posted his seventh one-day half-century in only 19 innings, was outdone by a smart piece of wicketkeeping from Wesley Barresi, who whipped off the bails with the right-hander on the walk having missed a leg-side delivery.
Veteran Paul Collingwood strode to the middle with 69 runs required for victory off 59 balls and he made his intentions clear with two early boundaries.
With the match still firmly in the balance, Ten Doeschate (2-47) continued his match to remember and sent nerves jangling in the England dressing room when he clean bowled Ian Bell (33) in the 43rd over.
But Bopara ensured there would be no repeat of their shock World Twenty20 defeat to Holland at Lord's in 2009 when he hit the first four deliveries of Bernard Loots' penultimate over of the match for the 13 runs required for victory.
Earlier, Bopara's Essex team-mate Ten Doeschate smashed three sixes and nine fours in an outstanding 110-ball innings to ensure Holland set a tough target, and posted the highest ever score by an associate country in the World Cup.
The powerful all-rounder capitalised on some uncharacteristically sloppy England ground fielding after opener Barresi (29) and number three batsman Cooper (47) had started strongly.
England's lowest moment came with Ten Doeschate dangerously poised on 47. His skied drive down the ground off Graeme Swann caused confusion between James Anderson and Pietersen and in the end neither attempted the catch and the ball dropped safe.
He brought up his fourth ODI century courtesy of an England overthrow, however Stuart Broad (2-65) returned to the attack to ensure he would not wreak much more damage thereafter.
Captain Peter Borren (35no) and Tom de Grooth (28) added useful runs down the order as the usually-reliable Anderson (0-72) found the going particularly tough.
Wow! What a fickle bunch you cricket fans are! I am not an avid cricket supporter but I do like watching the Test matches and the World Cup. Not so long ago everyone was praising England for beating the Aussies in their own back yard and now, even though they beat the Dutch, these people are all over the England team like a rash! Like any sport, fellas, there will be ups and downs, and your role as a supporter is to ensure you get behind your team no matter what. If I were an England player reading some of the comments on this page from so-called supporters, I would definitely be feeling somewhat demoralised! The British press already do a good job of undermining our national teams, don't add to that with your narrow-minded vitriole!
Posted 14:09 23rd February 2011
Top three scorers of the match? All South Africans, and we weren't even playing! Ha ha!
Posted 10:32 23rd February 2011
And people wonder why us English have an insular way of looking at the world...the English bashing is getting a little boring frankly. We taught the Aussies a proper lesson in their own back yard during the Ashes - not many teams do that. It's amazing how quickly the critics forget...bring on India for what should be a very close encounter.
Posted 09:58 23rd February 2011
I guess George Staples is an Aussie then? It was a poor performance but a win. In a football analogy, we scraped through a difficult away tie in the FA cup against a lower team who were up for it and we were off the pace. The best way to start tournaments is slowly and build momentum gradually - and our recent one-day record is actually ok if you take the series against Australia out. Bring on India - let's silence them!
Posted 19:36 22nd February 2011
England won by 6 wkts !! What more do you want ? Ok yes i may not off being a convincing performance in the field but Strauss 88 off (83) Trott 62 off (65) Bopara 30 off (20) , tbh its the bowlers to blame for bowling too wide, Anderson 0-72 for one !! Still think even after today we will get better as the tournement goes on .. Think the fielding today was a one-off IMO ... Get behind your Country - Come On England
Posted 18:55 22nd February 2011
Cor Blomey Mother O'Reilly. The Boers (Dutchman Chicken Farmers like Eddo Brandes...remember Big ED?) almost put England to the sword...bottled it in the end. Now if Bulgaria were an associate nation I think we would fear them. Think of the Thracian Auxillaries marching on Britannia? Cryptic I know but hey, my fellow cricket followers have a brain cell to spare compared to you sad soccer fans!
Posted 17:57 22nd February 2011
England will grow with the tournament. Remember they are just out of the Ashes and a punishing one-day series in which they never had their best line-up. Write them off at your own peril. This is the best England team in a long time, talent-wise, mentally and in depth.
Posted 17:51 22nd February 2011
England's over hyped players almost lost to CANADA, they were then almost humbled by the NETHERLANDS. Do these results and performances inspire any supporters? I think not. Bob Willis said that the Dutch had two-and-a-half bowlers and two batsmen. So what happened to England? Well the prima donnas did not turn up. Anderson was woeful, Prior's glovework continues to deteriorate and Strauss' captaincy was inspid. BUT they will all play next time - part of the favoured few method of selection. What message does this give to those who are waiting and deserve a place in the team? England will struggle to reach the last four, and have NO chance of getting near to the best teams; South Africa, India, Sri Lanka and Australia are streets ahead. Flower and Strauss need a wake up call and to be realistic.
Posted 17:30 22nd February 2011
England were very poor in the field. They just send a very poor message across that when the pressure is on, there are signs of panic. Ryan ten Doeschate was superb throughout. Going into the crucial game on Sunday both England & India have a few headaches in the bowling department. Bangladesh scored 250 plus against India & now the Dutch posted 292. You just cant allow the minnows to score that many runs. But, a win is a win. Looking forward to the big match in Bangalore!
Posted 17:28 22nd February 2011
Very unconvincing performance by England, but at least we managed to get the job done this time. We will need to improve drastically against the big guns to have any chance!
Posted 17:26 22nd February 2011
after a couple of good results with the warm up matches england put in a poor performance against the netherlands perhaps maybe be down to over confidenc and complacency but nevertherless a close call Ultimately the one day format is the weal link in englands overall game final verdict they need to stop over congratulating each other on warm up games an concentrate on the games that matter if they make it to the quarters it will be a good result!!!!!
Posted 17:03 22nd February 2011