England have to watch out for The Netherlands (Preview)

February 21st, 2011 - 8:38 pm ICT by IANS  

Nagpur, Feb 21 (IANS) England will play their first 2011 Cricket World Cup match Tuesday against the Netherlands, the team that scored an upset win against them in the World Twenty20 Championships last year.England have come here from a 1-6 drubbing at the hands of Australia, following their historic Ashes win.

The tiring three-month tour Down Under was cited as a major reason for England’s poor performance in the ODIs. But it was a great 2010 for England, winning their maiden International Cricket council World Twenty20 in the Caribbean under Paul Collingwood and ending the year with the Ashes win.

And now their hopes in the World Cup hinge on the form of their most destructive batsman, Kevin Pietersen, and spinners, especially off-spinnner Graeme Swann, who is now rated as the World No.3 in ODIs.

England have gambled by promoting Pietersen up the order to open the innings with captain Andrew Strauss. Strauss believes Pietersen’s promotion is a “calculated gamble.”

“In the subcontinent, the first 10 or 15 overs is always the best time to bat. We thought it would be a spur to him to take the World Cup by storm. It could work in our favour and put opposition teams under pressure. It’s a bit of a calculated gamble on our part, but Kevin is capable of taking a game by the scruff of the neck without taking huge risks,” said Strauss.

Strauss also hinted that Swann, who arrived here Sunday, is available but a decision on his inclusion is still to be taken. Swann stayed back in England to be with his wife for the birth of their first child.

“Graeme Swann has arrived so that completes a full squad that is fit and healthy and ready to go. The six days we had in Bangladesh were really good in terms of the preparation. We were quite buoyed by our performance (in a warm-up victory) against Pakistan. We are excited about what’s to come. Once the tournament is under way there is a buzz about things - and we want to get off to a good start,” said Strauss.

But Strauss is undecided on who will partner Swann. Slow left-armer Michael Yardy and offie James Tredwell are the two available options. Pietersen’s part-time off-spin will also come in handy.

“It is definitely an option. We will see how he comes through practice today. If we think the wicket will offer turn, it is a strong option for us,” he said.

The Dutch will take heart from their thrilling Twenty20 victory over England at Lord’s two years ago. But in the 50-over World Cup, they are yet to defeat a Test playing nation, having featured in the 1996, 2003 and 2007 tournaments. They have defeated only Namibia and Scotland in the 14 World Cup games they have played.

Dutch captain Peter Borren knows that 50-over format is tough.

“Agreed 50-overs is a different format but we have played a lot of ODIs. It’s not a surprise to us,” he said.

Teams (from):
England: Andrew Strauss (captain), Kevin Pietersen, Jonathan Trott, Ian Bell, Paul Collingwood, Matt Prior (wicketkeeper), Ravi Bopara, Tim Bresnan, Michael Yardy, Luke Wright, Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann, Ajmal Shahzad, James Tredwell, James Anderson

The Netherlands: Peter Borren (captain), Adeel Raja, Wesley Barresi (wicketkeeper), Mudassar Bukhari, Atse Buurman, Tom Cooper, Tom de Grooth, Alexei Kervezee, Bradley Kruger, Bernard Loots, Pieter Seelaar, Eric Szwarczynski, Ryan ten Doeschate, Berend Westdijk, Bas Zuiderent

Umpires: Asad Rauf (Pakistan), Bruce Oxenford (Australia)
Third (TV) umpire: Kumar Dharmasena (Sri Lanka)
Match referee: Ranjan Madugalle (Sri Lanka)

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