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ICC WT20 Rivalries: England V Netherlands

Rivalry? What rivalry, the Netherlands might well ask. After all, it has met England twice in ICC World T20 matches and run out winner on both occasions, first famously at Lord’s in 2009 and then in Chittagong five years later.

Those are the only two times the teams have met in Twenty20 International cricket. England came into both those games as the strong favourite but the Netherlands dug deep to put it past its more illustrious opponent on each occasion.

It was the inaugural match of the second edition of the World T20 with the host hoping to begin its Group B campaign on a high. England did achieve the first objective through a 102-run stand for the opening wicket between Ravi Bopara, whose 46 came off 34 deliveries with five fours, and Luke Wright, who smashed eight fours in his 49-ball 71. With nearly nine overs in the bag – Bopara was first man dismissed after 11.2 overs – and nine wickets in hand, England would have fancied its chances of posting a total in the vicinity of 200, but the Netherlands had plans of its own.

With the Netherlands’ seam-dominated attack hitting the right lengths and cramping the batsmen for room, England failed to find any momentum following Bopara’s dismissal. Only 73 runs came off the final ten overs and not a single boundary was scored off the last 17 deliveries as Dutch discipline came in the way of a big England score.

The home side would still have backed itself to defend 162 for 5, given the relative lack of experience of the Netherlands batsmen. James Anderson got England off to the perfect start by evicting Alexei Kervezee in the first over of the chase, and while the Netherlands continued to score briskly, it also kept losing wickets. Tom de Grooth lit up the chase with 49 off just 30 deliveries, including a six and six fours, but at 146 for 6 with 17 needed off two overs, it appeared as if England’s greater experience would see it through.

Ryan ten Doeschate and Edgar Schiferli brought the equation down to 7 off the last over as Ryan Sidebottom conceded 10 in the 19th, leaving a nervy Stuart Broad with the unenviable task of bowling the final over. Broad put down a ten Doeschate steepler off the third delivery, and with each of the first five balls having yielded a single, Netherlands needed two off the last ball for a famous victory. Schiferli clubbed Broad straight back to the bowler and the batsmen set off for the tying single. Broad had all three stumps to aim at but missed and the two batsmen scrambled back for an overthrow that produced the first upset of the 2009 edition in the very first match.

By the time this match came around at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium, neither side had a chance of progressing through to the knockout semifinals. Netherlands had advanced from the first phase but was winless in Group 1 action going into the final league fixture for both teams, while England’s chances had dissipated after its narrow loss to South Africa in the previous game.

Stuart Broad stuck the Netherlands in and had enough opportunity to rue his decision for the first half of the innings as Stephan Myburgh and Wesley Barresi dug in to build on a 34-run start provided by Myburgh and Michael Swart. The second-wicket pair had put on an even 50 and at 84 for 1 at the start of the 12th over, the Netherlands looked on course for a competitive total when Ravi Bopara’s medium-pace accounted for Myburgh for 39.

Bopara’s arrival at the bowling crease put the brakes on the Netherlands scoring as the boundaries dried up and even strike-rotation came to a halt. From 75 for 1 after ten, Netherlands added just 58 more in the second half to finish on 133 for 5, the last five overs particularly unproductive as they yielded only 27 runs. Bopara rounded off an excellent outing with figures of 4-0-15-1 while Broad took 3 for 24 as England set out for what appeared to be a regulation chase.

There was no hint of the carnage to follow when Alex Hales and Michael Lumb pieced together 18 for the first wicket, but the introduction of Mudassar Bukhari turned the game on its head. The right-arm fast-medium bowler accounted for the openers in consecutive deliveries on his way to a match-winning spell of 3 for 12, which fetched him the Player of the Match award. Logan van Beek muscled through the middle order, packing off Jos Buttler, Bopara and Chris Jordan to finish with 3 for 9 from just two overs. Only three England batsmen touched double-digits and Bopara’s 18 off 20 was the highest as it was shot out for 88, debutant Stephen Parry stranded mid-pitch to hand the Netherlands another spectacular victory, this time by a massive margin of 45 runs.

What to expect at ICC World T20 2016: Should Netherlands come through as the Group A topper from a pool that also includes Bangladesh, Ireland and Oman, it will be placed in Group 2 of the Super 10s, alongside India, New Zealand, Pakistan and Australia. The earliest it can meet England is in the knockout semifinal, provided both teams get there.