England squeak home after Dutch scare
The Netherlands’ Ryan ten Doeschate scored a dazzling World Cup century against ragged England on Tuesday but the three-times finalists fought back to win a nervy game.
In a contest the competition badly needed after a series of mismatches, the Dutch, inspired by ten Doeschate’s knock of 119 off just 110 balls, racked up a challenging score of 292 for six in Nagpur.
The Ashes winners were shocking in the field as ten Doeschate went on the rampage, hitting three sixes and nine fours in a devastating show of power.
But England kept their heads, despite two wickets for ten Doeschate, and helped by a skipper’s knock of 88 by Andrew Strauss, reached their target with eight balls to spare.
“We got a lot of things wrong with our bowling and we let them off the hook three or four times in the field as well,” Strauss said.
“We’ve got to take that on the chin, learn from it pretty quickly because you can’t afford to do that too often. Thankfully the batsmen got us out of jail.”
Ten Doeschate said he had recently struggled with the bat.
“I’ve worked really hard in the last two weeks and it was just one of those days,” he said. “Everything came naturally.”
Before the match, ten Doeschate, who has the highest one day international (ODI) average in world cricket, said memories of a win for the Dutch over England in the 2009 World Twenty20 would help bolster their resolve.
Ahead of their first match on Wednesday, Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi vowed to win the World Cup for millions of weary fans back home who lost out on the showpiece when their country became a no-go zone.
International cricket has been suspended in Pakistan since the terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan team bus in Lahore in 2009 which left eight people dead and injured seven visiting players and their assistant coach.
“Not playing in our country is on our minds,” Afridi said, ahead of his team’s match against Kenya.
“We feel for our nation, our people who are missing the World Cup.
“I think this is the main thing for us, so definitely we will try our level best to win, which is very important for us, and if we do that I hope some cricket returns to our country sooner rather than later.”
Besides the suspension of international cricket, Pakistan have also been hit by the spot-fixing scandal, which ended in lengthy bans for Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamer, and other disciplinary problems.
Veteran batsman Steve Tikolo vowed Kenya would lift themselves against Pakistan after their mauling at the hands of New Zealand, when they were skittled for just 69—their lowest World Cup score.
Meanwhile, New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori said he believed a World Cup win on Friday over rivals Australia would help lift national spirits left shattered by Tuesday’s deadly Christchurch earthquake.
The 15-man squad desperately scrambled for news on loved ones caught up in the 6,3-magnitude quake which killed at least 75 people, with the team admitting to being left shocked and numbed by the tragedy.
“The greatest thing we can do is beat Australia to hopefully help bring a little relief for the people who are going such a rough time at home,” said Vettori.
“It’s been a tough day. Five or six of the team and the management crew are based in Christchurch, so it’s been a rough time for them finding out that their families are safe.”
Mumbai’s revamped Wankhede stadium was cleared by fire chiefs to host the World Cup final, a welcome boost for a venue criticised for failing to respect safety standards.—Sapa-AFP