Collingwood pulls England out of the woods

Paul Collingwood

By Suneer Chowdhary

Nagpur: Feb 22, 2011

Paul Collingwood kept his cool in trying circumstances to guide England to a win over Netherlands by six wickets at the VCA Ground in Nagpur. The target was 293 and after Andrew Strauss and Jonathon Trott set the game up with contrasting half-centuries, Collingwood got the English side home with a 23-ball 30 under pressure. While obvious questions will be asked of the English bowlers, the side will breathe a sigh of relief at having crossed the line.

The experiment to open with Kevin Pietersen seemed to have worked for England in the warm-up games and it couldn t have been a better game to try it out at the ODI level. The target was stiff from the outset but what was in Pietersen and the think-tank s favour was the rather inexperienced Dutch bowling.

Pietersen started off very positively as he got to his first 19 off his first 16 but strangely after that, he got into his shell after that. However, it was an unexpected show of aggression by the out-of-form captain Andrew Strauss that pegged Netherlands back.

Unfortunately, the absence of a bowler of the class of Dirk Nannes meant that 293 was not going to be an impregnable target and even after Pietersen fell to the usual suspect a left-arm spinner in Pieter Seelar for 39, Jonathon Trott calmly guided the English side to what seemed like an easy victory.

Strauss got to his half-century and was dismissed when it looked like the century was there for his taking. There were nine boundaries in his innings and just when he was only 12 short of the 100, he pulled Mudassar Bukhar to the deep square-leg fielder. England were 166 for two but with many overs to play and Trott still at the crease, the target was within grasp.

So it was even when Trott departed for yet another half-century his ninth score of more than 50 in only 18 ODIs after being brilliantly stumped by Wesley Barresi. At this stage, England were 69 away with 59 deliveries in hand, but more importantly with a Batting Powerplay in hand.

Unfortunately for the Dutch, ten Doeschate had only a couple of overs remaining. He finished those off well but the relative inexperience of the other Dutch bowlers ensured that this would not be the first upset of the tournament.

Netherlands had earlier batted like they were no Associates. And it would be a fair comment to say that England had bowled and fielded conversely. After a solid start, where Netherlands did manage to get going was through some aggressive running between the wickets, big blows through ten Doeschate and a host of misfields and dropped catches in the field.

Ten Doeschate was missed once, just before he had got to his half-century, but apart from that, there couldn t be much denying that it was one of the better World Cup centuries. That, along with Tom Cooper s 47 and captain Peter Borren s unbeaten 35 had propelled the Dutch side to 292 for six in their 50 overs.

Brief scores: Netherlands 292 for 6 in 50 overs (Ryan ten Doeschate 119, Tom Cooper 47; Graeme Swann 2 for 35, Stuart Broad 2 for 65) lost to England 296 for four in 48.4 overs (Andrew Strauss 88, Jonathon Trott 62; Ryan ten Doeschate 2 for 47, Pieter Seelar 1 for 54)

(Suneer is a Mumbai-based cricket writer and can be contacted at . His Twitter handle is @suneerchowdhary)

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