England produced a Jeckyll and Hyde display to overcome Netherlands by six-wickets despite a wonderful performance from Ryan ten Doeschate.
Ten Doeschate’s brilliant 110-ball 119 helped the Dutch set an extremely competitive 292 as England produced a shambolic fielding performance.
Captain Andrew Strauss steadied England from the top of the order with 88, before Paul Collingwood and Ravi Bopara saw them home in the penultimate over.
The Netherlands’ performance will have inspired the much maligned Associate nations and the entire tournament though, after a one-sided start to the ICC World Cup.
Netherlands skipper Peter Borren confidently opted to bat on a flat looking deck and watched as his side made a strong start.
Openers Wesley Barresi and Alexei Kervezee - a county regular for Worcestershire - put on 36 before Tim Bresnan removed Kervezee in the seventh over.
Barresi was neatly stumped by Matt Prior in Graeme Swann’s first over to bring Ten Doeschate to the crease alongside Tom Cooper.
The pair built a steady partnership of 78 but after Cooper fell for 47 Ten Doeschate took control.
The Essex batsman timed his innings perfectly, accelerating towards his century with his last 52 runs taking just 26 deliveries. He hit nine fours and three well struck sixes in his innings.
Ten Doeschate’s passed his century from just 98 balls and together with Borren - who finished unbeaten on 35 from 24 balls - plundered 50 from the batting powerplay.
Their eventual total of 292-6 was the second highest by any Associate nation against a Test playing nation.
The Dutch, and Ten Doeschate in particular, benefitted from an England bowling and fielding performance which deteriorated alarmingly through the innings.
Ten Doeschate was on 47 when Swann, who was the pick of England’s bowlers with 2-35, tempted him to miscue a hit down the ground straight up in the air.
James Anderson and Kevin Pietersen converged under the ball but comically allowed it to hit the turf as they both left the catch to one another.
Ten Doeschate then reached his century with a five when Jonathan Trott’s throw hit the stumps, deflecting it away from the two fielders backing up and through to the fence.
Stuart Broad, the bowler on that occasion, was once again the unlucky man when he clean bowled Borren, only for the Dutchman to be called back as England had only had three fielders in the 30-yard circle.
Swann and Kevin Pietersen also dropped catches while James Anderson had a terrible afternoon, bowling two accidental beamers in his spell of 0-72.
Strauss got England’s chase off to a flying start with three fours from the opening over off the bowling of Mudassar Bukhari.
Pietersen joined in the fun as England’s new opening pair added 105 from the first 17.4 overs to restore some parity.
Pietersen’s poor record against left-arm spin continued when he drove Pieter Seelaar straight to short mid-off to fall for 39.
Strauss continued to lead the charge alongside Jonathan Trott but the England captain was guilty of a lapse of concentration when he pulled Bukhari straight down deep mid wicket’s throat.
Trott passed 50 for the tenth time in his 18 match One Day International career before being stumped off a Ten Doeschate wide - deliberately bowled by the 30-year-old.
Ten Doeschate claimed a second in his last over to finish with 2-47 - Ian Bell bowled for 33.
Despite his magnificent effort he was destined to finish on the losing side.
Collingwood (30*) showed all his experience while Ravi Bopara (30*) finished things off with 16 from the final four balls, including a flat six over long-off.
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