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ICC World Cup: England to take on Netherlands in Pune: England won the toss opt to bat  

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In ICC World Cup, today, England will take on Netherlands in Pune. The match will start at 2 PM. England won the toss elected to bat first.

For Jos Buttler’s team, the World Cup campaign has turned into a catastrophe. Never before have the defending World Cup champions exhibited such pusillanimity and plummeted to such abysmal depths. Currently, England find themselves at the bottom of the points table, even lower than the 14th-ranked Netherlands, their adversaries in the penultimate game scheduled for Wednesday, (November 8) in Pune.

With their chances of defending the title gone, the postmortem has already begun. Some of the points under debate include whether skipper Buttler and coach Matthew Mott should continue in their roles; whether the team is too old for the 50-over format (their average age is close to 32 years, not too old, but not in the prime of cricketing youth either); whether English white-ball cricket needs another reset similar to the one in 2015; or whether they are too fixated on the Bazball?

Maybe England could have fared better with a Bazball-style approach in the World Cup, playing positively both in attack and defence. However, there was no sign of such play in their seven games so far, and they were largely off-color, and sometimes even timid, like they were against India for instance. Every side they faced seemed capable of beating them. One school of thought is that they may have failed to adjust to the varying conditions of the different venues in India, where they have played six different venues spread across the length and breadth of the country, unlike in England where conditions are largely similar. As Moeen Ali recently remarked, the writing was on the wall, and nobody saw it.

But the Dutch still regard England as a formidable side despite their current ills and vulnerabilities. “England are world champions. So, I think they would do what’s necessary. They’ve prepared just as much. And, in South Africa, where I’m from, there’s a famous saying about never underestimating a wounded buffalo. So, I think we sit in a position where England’s one of the best teams in the world. And irrespective of how they’re playing, they can produce incredible performances at any moment. So that’s what we’re preparing for, the best England possible,” Netherlands’ support staff member Ryan van Niekerk said.

With a semifinal berth out of their reach, England now aims to avoid the ignominy of failing to qualify for the Champions Trophy. In this revised mission, they need a win against the Dutch, who have proven themselves to be no pushovers with two wins in seven games, one more than England. In this context, the Wednesday contest holds significance.

“Absolutely, I don’t think there’s ever a dead rubber when you play for England to be honest, I think the lads are completely up for — we’ve got two games in which we need to win both to qualify for the for the Champions Trophy, so I think that’s there for everybody to see and the guys are going to be obviously up for it and I think we’ll be good tomorrow,” said team’s fielding coach Carl Hopkinson on the eve of the game.

A win for either side tomorrow could significantly improve their chances of qualifying for the Champions Trophy, a fact England only became aware of a week ago, and the Dutch had not entertained such thoughts until recently.

Squads:

Netherlands Squad: Wesley Barresi, Max ODowd, Colin Ackermann, Sybrand Engelbrecht, Scott Edwards(w/c), Bas de Leede, Saqib Zulfiqar, Logan van Beek, Roelof van der Merwe, Aryan Dutt, Paul van Meekeren, Teja Nidamanuru, Vikramjit Singh, Ryan Klein, Shariz Ahmad

England Squad: Jonny Bairstow, Dawid Malan, Joe Root, Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler(w/c), Moeen Ali, Liam Livingstone, Chris Woakes, David Willey, Adil Rashid, Mark Wood, Sam Curran, Brydon Carse, Harry Brook, Gus Atkinson

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