England 339 for 9 (Stokes 108, Malan 87, Woakes 51) beat Netherlands 179 (Nidamanuru 41*, Moeen 3-42, Rashid 3-54, Willey 2-19) by 160 runs
England had started well, winning the toss and easing to 39 without loss off the first four overs. But then the scoring dried up and Jonny Bairstow departed for just 15, top-edging an Aryun Dutt delivery high into the air for short backward square to pocket.
Nevertheless, England were 70 for 1 after 10 overs, their highest powerplay score of the tournament with Dawid Malan looking the business, as he has done in isolation from his team-mates at this tournament. He sped to a half-century off just 36 balls, took to Roelof van der Merwe by clubbing sixes over square leg and 79m over midwicket. But he was run out 13 shy of his ton chancing the arm of Logan van Beek at cover point (and ultimately some slick glovework by Scott Edwards) before being sent back by Stokes and finding himself millimetres short of his ground.
Joe Root had already fallen, continuing his poor run with the bat in ugly fashion, nutmegged while attempting a reverse scoop off van Beek, and so followed a steady procession of wickets that has become all too familiar in this side’s hapless title defence.
Harry Brook, called up for an out-of-touch Liam Livingstone, perished cheaply, caught by Colin Ackermann running in from deep square leg off Bas de Leede; Jos Buttler’s batting woes deepened when he spooned Paul van Meekeren straight to mid-off, throwing his head back and flipping his bat in the air as he failed to hide the frustrations of a tournament that has yielded him just 111 runs at an average of 13.87; and Moeen Ali went just as tamely holing out to de Leede at long-off to give Dutt his second wicket.
After Dutt missed a difficult diving chance at fine leg to remove Stokes on 41, the batter raised his fifty with a six over deep midwicket off de Leede. Dutt conceded 24 runs off his last over, the 45th, with 22 of those going to Stokes. A four and a six either side of the pitch then a no-ball-height full toss dispatched over the fence at backward square leg and another maximum pounded over long-on bookended an unsuccessful Netherlands review for lbw when UltraEdge showed a faint murmur as the ball passed the under-edge of Stokes’ bat, then gloves when he was on 68.
Wayward bowling set in for Netherlands with a rash of wides from van Beek in the next over, which went for 14 as England closed in on a 300-plus total. They got there quickly too, Stokes moving into the 90s with yet another six, down the ground off de Leede, followed by fours for himself and Woakes, as Netherlands conceded 55 runs in three overs.
Stokes brought up his century with a reverse sweep off van Meekeren, then Woakes reached fifty with a six and four off de Leede, who had him caught behind next ball to end their union. But by then England had truly wrested back command of the match and when van Beek had Stokes caught at long-off two balls before the innings ended, Netherlands had a mountain to climb.
All up, England thrashed 124 runs from the last 10 overs. Then Woakes and David Willey made early breakthroughs when Max O’Dowd and Colin Ackermann fell in quick succession as Netherlands lurched to 13 for 2 inside the first six overs of their pursuit. At the end of the 10-over powerplay, Netherlands’ prospects had scarcely improved at 23 for 3 with Wes Barresi creeping to 11 off 38 balls.
It was by no means a flawless display in the field by England either though. They burned a review for caught behind off Barresi in the first over and Barresi was put down at slip by Root next ball before surviving another chance on 32 when Gus Atkinson failed to make a return catch stick.
Sybrand Engelbrecht was on 16 when Root appealed for a catch at midwicket only to be adjudged not out when the TV umpire couldn’t settle on conclusive evidence that the ball hadn’t touched the turf, prompting Root to bury his face in his cap and save viewers from getting the clearest picture of his thoughts on the matter.
Barresi was run out for 37, Netherlands’ tenth such dismissal at this World Cup, to end a 55-run stand with Engelbrecht and Willey claimed his second wicket when Engelbrecht picked out Woakes at mid-on. But Willey also put down Teja Nidamanuru at mid-on off the bowling of Atkinson and the batter went on to forge a 59-run partnership with captain Edwards from 50 balls before Moeen Ali had Edwards caught by Malan at for 38, Moeen’s first wicket of the tournament.
Netherlands ended up losing their last five wickets for 16 in 21 balls and, with those, their hopes of securing an all-important Champions Trophy berth took a hit. In theory, they can still make it, with the bottom four teams – England, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Netherlands – all locked on four points each but they face the toughest task with their final match against undefeated hosts India and a net run rate which is inferior to their rivals.
Valkerie Baynes is a general editor, women’s cricket, at ESPNcricinfo