Saturday, March 2, 2024

England’s CT hopes endure


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Pune, Nov 8: Ben Stokes’ attacking century was well complemented by the bowlers as England cantered to a 160-run win over the Netherlands here on Wednesday to stay in the hunt for a place in the 2025 Champions Trophy in Pakistan.
Though England and Netherlands are out of reckoning for the semifinals, the contest between the two lowest-placed sides gain significance when it comes to qualifying for the Champions Trophy as only the top seven teams from the ongoing showpiece will qualify for the event.England’s batting finally clicked as they posted 339 for 9 and then the bowlers did the rest, dismissing Netherlands for 179 in 37.2 overs.The win took England to the seventh spot in the points table on account of better run rate.
The defending champions will take on Pakistan in their last match in Kolkata on Saturday.Opting to bat, Stokes (108 off 83) initially provided the stability in the middle before opening up towards the end, while David Malan (87 off 74) got England off to a flier with his breezy knock during which he hit 10 fours and two sixes to power England to 339 for nine.Stokes struck six fours and as many hits over the fence, while Chris Woakes too did his bit with a 45-ball 51.Chasing a huge target of 340, Netherlands lost their first wicket in the fifth over when Max O’Dowd gave a simple catch to Moeen Ali at mid-on off the bowling of Chris Woakes.In the next over, Netherlands were two down when Colin Ackermann nicked a David Willey delivery to Jos Buttler behind the stumps.Wesley Barresi (37) and Sybrand Engelbrecht (33) tried their best to stabilise the chase with a 55-run stand for the third wicket before Baressi was run out.Engelbrecht was then holed out by Woakes at mid-on to hand Willey his second wicket of the day, while Bas de Leede played on an Adil Rashid delivery.
Willey dropped Teja Nidamanuru (41 not out off 34) at mid-on off Atkinson in 27th over and the batter grabbed the life with both hands, clobbering Adil Rashid and Atkinson for two huge sixes over mid-on and square-leg boundary in consecutive overs.
Netherlands skipper Scott Edwards and Nidamanuru then shared 59 runs for the sixth wicket before the former gave a simple catch to Willey at mid-off of Ali’s bowling.Thereafter, Netherlands wickets fell like nine pins as they were bowled out for 179 in 37.2 overs.
Earlier, Malan looked at his attacking best as he flicked and drove Logan van Beek for three consecutive boundaries in the second over. He continued his onslaught against spinner Aryan Dutt (2/67), sending him through the covers and gully for two more boundaries in the next over.Boundaries came thick and fast for England as the next over from Logan Van Beek also witnessed two hits to the fence — one each from Malan and Jonny Bairstow.
Netherlands had their first success in the final ball of the seventh over in the form of Bairstow, who was holed out by Paul Van Meekeren off the bowling of Dutt at backward square-leg. (PTI)


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