England 339 for 9 (Stokes 108, Malan 87) beat Netherlands 179 (Nidamanuru 41*, Moeen 3-42, Rashid 3-54) by 160 runs
England have finally arrived at the 2023 World Cup… seven matches and some 35 overs too late, writes Andrew Miller. On the face of it, this was a crushing 160-run win over the Netherlands in Pune, with which England not only secured the spoils in their in fact European Cup final, but also claimed three places in the tournament standings on net run-rate, from tenth to seventh, to help guard against the secondary embarrassment of missing out on qualification for the 2025 Champions Trophy.
That achievement would be small beer compared to England’s original tournament ambitions, of course, but had it not been for a throwback display from a bona fide World Cup hero, even this pyrrhic success might have been beyond them. It took Ben Stokes in beast mode to revive another deeply off-colour batting display, as he and Chris Woakes added an England-record 129 for the seventh wicket, before an overwhelmed Netherlands line-up wilted in the face of an unrealistic 340-run chase.
Stokes’ share was 108 from 84 balls – his maiden World Cup century – of which 62 came from his final 26 balls, including each of his six sixes. As with Glenn Maxwell’s masterful display against Afghanistan in Mumbai on Tuesday, his calculated acceleration into the back-end of the innings sapped the spirits of a previously dominant attack, as England pounded 124 runs in the final 10-over powerplay – the sort of effortless authority that this team once brought to the crease as standard.