Yet any optimism was well and truly vanquished last night as they suffered their most humiliating defeat in limited overs history. England are sixth in the international rankings yet failed to convert their supremacy with ranking minnows, Netherlands, claiming an unexpected, but thoroughly deserved victory.
England enjoyed a positive start, with a record-equaling opening score from Ravi Bopara (46) and Luke Wright (71), leaving England 100-0. Yet they failed to utilise their advantage and slumped to a woeful 162-5.
After both Bopara and Wright fell in the same over, England effectively collapsed. Failing to add to their impressive start Paul Collingwood managed a measly 11 runs as the rest of his team mates failed to hit a single boundary.
The Dutch started poorly as England fast bowler James Anderson took the quick wicket of Kervezee. But it wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t long before the Dutch started to thrill the LordÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s crowd with three 6Ã¢â‚¬â„¢s and twelve 4Ã¢â‚¬â„¢s. De Grooth scored an impressive 49 runs and Borren managed an impressive 30.
After 10 overs the Netherlands were 91-3 and progressing nicely. The 1,000 strong Dutch contingent in the Mound Stand were in jubilant spirits. They clearly had high hopes of their nation producing a major upset.
And despite the rain, the Netherlands went on to claim a famous victory while England were once again left to analyse where it all went wrong. A dejected Paul Collingwood spoke to the media after the match:
Ã¢â‚¬Å“It hurts, I expect it to hurt, we have been beaten fair and square by a team better than us on the night.”
He added: “We believe we can beat Pakistan and we are going to have to show that.”
EnglandÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s next game is against Pakistan and a significant improvement is needed from the players. It now becomes a must win game for the host nation should they want to qualify from the group.
“We have got a major thing bouncing back on Sunday, and we have got to do that, we are still in the competition”
Undoubtedly England missed their maverick batter Kevin Pietersen against Netherlands. This was highlighted with the lack of big hitting in the England team and the failure to register even a single 6.
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BIOGRAPHY: N’Golo Kante