|ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup, Pune
|England 339-9 (50 overs): Stokes 108 (84), Malan 87 (74); De Leede 3-74
|Netherlands 179 (37.2 overs): Nidamanuru 41* (34); Moeen 3-42, Rashid 3-54
|England won by 160 runs
Ben Stokes hit a superb century as England boosted their beleaguered World Cup campaign with a 160-run victory over the Netherlands in Pune.
The defending champions’ hopes of progressing were already over but the result does improve their chances of qualifying for the 2025 Champions Trophy.
Stokes hit 108 from 84 balls, his fifth one-day international century but first at a World Cup, to rescue England’s batting line-up from more misery and drag them to 339-9.
Dawid Malan’s 87 gave England a platform at 133-1 before a collapse – Malan, Joe Root, Jos Buttler, Harry Brook and Moeen Ali were all out in quick succession – had them teetering at 192-6 in the 36th over.
But Stokes, crucially dropped at fine leg on 42, powered on from a steady start in a partnership of 129 from 81 balls with Chris Woakes, who made an important 51.
The Netherlands’ chase never got going after early blows by Woakes and David Willey.
They were dismissed for 179 in 37.2 overs, with Willey taking 2-19, Moeen Ali 3-42 and Adil Rashid 3-54.
England’s second win in eight games lifts them from bottom of the table to seventh with one match to play – a meeting with Pakistan on Saturday.
They must finish in the top eight to make the Champions Trophy and, while victory in Kolkata would all but guarantee qualification, they could already have enough if other results go their way.
Defeat here mathematically ended the Netherlands’ chances of finishing in the top four and they face leaders India in their final game on Sunday.
Stokes steps up yet again
Stokes will wonder why this innings, which included six fours and six sixes, could not have come sooner.
England’s hopes of reaching the semi-finals were effectively over long before Saturday’s defeat by Australia confirmed their elimination.
Their talisman Stokes is also set to have surgery on his long-standing knee problem next week and England will be desperately grateful he resisted calls to return home early.
They had never lost an ODI to the Netherlands but a shock looked not beyond possibility as wickets tumbled.
After reaching 50 in 58 balls, Stokes took just 20 balls to get to three figures in another display of power-hitting, as the Test captain targeted the leg side and the Netherlands lost their discipline, conceding 21 extras in total.
Having survived a close lbw review where he was deemed to have got a faint inside edge, Stokes took 23 from the 45th over bowled by spinner Aryan Dutt, including a head-high full toss that was flicked for six before banging the subsequent free hit over long-on.
Stokes was eventually caught trying to hit out in the final over. The Netherlands are not the first team to struggle as he attacked and will not be the last.
More batting struggles elsewhere
England’s misery in India has, on the whole, been caused by collapses with the bat. Stokes ensured their latest was not as damaging.
Malan capitalised on Dutch generosity with the new ball, driving when the bowling regularly drifted too full, but fellow opener Jonny Bairstow failed again when he tried to flog off-spinner Dutt and was caught at deep square leg.
Root battled to 28, his highest score in six matches, before he was comically bowled through his legs trying to play a trademark reverse scoop to seamer Logan van Beek, who then ran out Malan an over later.
Brook, recalled for Liam Livingstone, made 11 before he skied a catch to deep mid-wicket, while Buttler’s miserable spell continued as he chipped seamer Paul van Meekeren to mid-off for five.
The England captain is averaging 13.87 in the tournament with a high score of 43.
Willey & Woakes impress
While the batting has struggled, England’s bowling has at least improved in the past three games.
Here, seamers Woakes and Willey found movement under the lights while the Netherlands were curiously tentative.
After opener Max O’Dowd hit Woakes into the hands of Moeen at mid-on and Colin Ackermann was caught behind for a duck off Willey, there was a run of 13 consecutive dot balls. The Dutch managed just 23 runs from the powerplay – the lowest return in the tournament so far.
Opener Wesley Barresi took 62 balls to make 37 and Sybrand Engelbrecht 49 for his 33.
Captain Scott Edwards, who made 38, and Teja Nidamanuru, who finished unbeaten on 41, briefly held up England before spinners Moeen and Rashid ran through the rest of the order to complete the win.
‘We were desperate for the win’ – reaction
Player of the match, England’s Ben Stokes: “I’m more pleased for us to get a victory over the line, it’s been a tough World Cup and it’s nice to get back to winning ways .
“I use the scoreboard as my friend a lot. Whenever pressure feels like it’s building or if it is, I just look up and you realise you’ve got more time than you think.”
England captain Jos Buttler: “We were desperate for the win. We got off to a great start, had a bit of a speed bump in the middle.
“We needed someone to stand up and take charge. There was some very smart cricket between Stokes and Woakes to get us to that score.
“The Pakistan game is huge. At the end of a disappointing tournament we finish with a game that means a lot.”
Netherlands captain Scott Edwards: “We didn’t start well, our bowlers did well to drag it back but they took it away from us and got just above par. Same old story with the bat.
“We’ve been in good in patches, we just need to do it for longer. England are a quality side and they took it away from us.”
SOURCE : www.bbc.co.uk