Cricket World Cup 2023: Can England earn a morale-boosting win?

On the face of it, Netherlands should be easy pickings. But nothing's come easy for England this time

By Ayaz Memon

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England's Ben Stokes during a training session in Pune. — AFP
England's Ben Stokes during a training session in Pune. — AFP

Published: Tue 7 Nov 2023, 9:54 PM

England’s thoroughly mediocre performance in this tournament has shocked cricket aficionados. Players and teams can hit a trough, but for it to continue so long, and indeed go from bad to worse with each match, is inexplicable.

On paper, England were among the strongest teams in the World Cup. To defend the title they won in 2019 seemed a cinch. Now everything is in tatters.

Failure to find a place in the semifinals has obviously been a huge setback, but another major one awaits them if they flop against Netherlands.

That would push them to the bottom of the points table and imperil their qualification for the Champions Trophy. Remember, only the top eight teams in this World Cup qualify automatically.

There have been repercussions already on this flop show. Ben Stokes, hero of the 2019 triumph, has been a colossal failure this time.

David Willey, among the few with a modicum of success, announced his retirement mid-way through, unhappy with how central contracts have been doled out.

Moeen Ali, another big player who failed to live up to reputation, says England will have to reboot going ahead since many players have become too old for the format.

Given the catastrophic campaign, it’s understandable that the team’s in turmoil.

Can the players lift themselves up and get into a competitive mindset from here/

On the face of it, Netherlands should be easy pickings. But nothing’s come easy for England this time.

Wednesday's match:

England vs Netherlands

MCA Stadium, Pune

12:30 pm UAE Time

Teams:

England (probable): 1 Jonny Bairstow, 2 Dawid Malan, 3 Joe Root, 4 Ben Stokes/Harry Brook, 5 Jos Buttler (capt, wk), 6 Moeen Ali, 7 Liam Livingstone, 8 Chris Woakes, 9 David Willey, 10 Gus Atkinson/Brydon Carse, 11 Adil Rashid

Netherlands (possible): 1 Max O'Dowd, 2 Wesley Barresi, 3 Colin Ackermann, 4 Sybrand Engelbrecht, 5 Scott Edwards (capt, wk), 6 Bas de Leede, 7 Logan van Beek, 8 Roelof van der Merwe, 9 Shariz Ahmad, 10 Aryan Dutt, 11 Paul van Meekeren


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