|Disappointment for the Dutch who came close to their first World Cup upset [GALLO/GETTY]
England narrowly avoided humiliation in their opening World Cup Cricket Group B match, clinching a thrilling six-wicket victory with just eight balls to spare against the Netherlands in Nagpur on Tuesday.
Ryan ten Doeschate scored a dazzling century against England to lead the unfavoured Dutch to 292-6 but opener Andrew Strauss gave his team a platform with 88 from 83 balls, equalling the highest score by an England captain at a World Cup.
Jonathan Trott hit 62 at almost a run a ball but England still cut it fine, with Ravi Bopara hitting the winning runs with just eight balls remaining to take England to 296-4.
The Ashes winners were shocking in the field as ten Doeschate smashed three sixes and nine fours in a devastating show of power. The result suggests England could struggle in their next Group B match against tournament favourites India on Sunday.
Skipper Andrew Strauss was not impressed by England’s performance.
"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."
England's chase got off to a resounding start with Strauss (88) and Kevin Pietersen (39) providing a rollicking 105-run stand before they lost four wickets to find themselves in a spot of bother.
Paul Collingwood's (30) experience and Ravi Bopara's (30) improvisation came in handy as England survived some torrid times before completing the tricky chase in the penultimate over.
Having stunned England in the 2009 Twenty20 World Cup, the Dutch upstarts seemed up to more mischief at the Vidarbha Cricket Association where they batted as if to salvage the reputation of the associate teams which, the game's governing body believes, have no business being in the World Cup.
A Kervezee c Prior b Bresnan 16
W Barresi st Prior b Swann 29
T Cooper c Anderson b Collingwood 47
R Doeschate c Bopara b Broad 119
B Zuiderent c C'wood b Swann 1
T de Grooth b Broad 28
P Borren not out 35
M Bukhari not out 6
Total: (6 wickets, 50 overs) 292
Fall of wickets: 1-36 2-58 3-136 4-149 5-213 6-274
A Strauss c Cooper b Bukhari 88
K Pietersen c Borren b Seelaar 39
J Trott st Barresi b Doeschate 62
I Bell b ten Doeschate 33
P Collingwood not out 30
R Bopara not out 30
Total: (4 wickets; 48.4 overs) 296
Fall of wickets: 1-105 2-166 3-224 4-241
Man-of-the match 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."
"If we can carry on in that manner, playing brave cricket and having a go at these big teams it will be a great World Cup for us," he added.
He added 78 runs with Tom Cooper (47), 64 with Tom de Grooth (28) and 61 with skipper Peter Borren (35 not out) to set a stiff target for Strauss and his men.
After Borren had opted to set a target rather than chasing one, openers Alexei Kervezee (16) and Wesley Barresi (29) looked quite at ease against the English pacers before change bowlers collaborated with stumper Matt Prior to remove both.
Barresi, having hit three fours off Stuart Broad's third over, top edged a Tim Bresnan delivery and Kervezee fell to Prior's sharp stumping in Graeme Swann's first over.
Ten Doeschate ensured there was no panic in the Dutch camp.
He offered dogged resistance in the company of former Australia under-19 player Cooper, consolidated the innings with de Grooth before providing the late charge with Borren.
Borren was fortunate to be called back despite being bowled by Broad as England had one extra fielder outside the circle in that powerplay over.