England ready to start with a bang against The Netherlands

Kushan Sarkar

Nagpur, Feb 21 (PTI) Set to experiment with KevinPietersen as an opener, England take on the Netherlands intheir World Cup Group B match here tomorrow aiming for theflying start that would set them up for the bigger battlesthat lie ahead in the mega event.

Drubbed 1-6 by Australia in the ODI series just beforethe World Cup, Andrew Strauss and his boys would be desperateto put aside the disappointment when they face off against theDutch at the Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium in Jamtha.

When Steven Gerrards and John Terrys are pitted againstthe likes Arjen Robben and Robin van Persie, there isn''t muchto choose between the two teams but when the English cricketteam takes on its ''Oranje'' counterpart, it becomes amismatched battle.

But as England wicketkeeper Matt Prior yesterday pointedout, it would be important to have a good start and taking theNetherlands lightly could end up giving the English a rudeshock because World Cups have had a history of having at leastone match in which the David manages to down the Goliath.

The English, in fact, don''t have to look too far behindfor an example. Two years ago in their opening encounter ofthe World Twenty20 at the Lord''s, the Dutchmen stunned thehosts by four wickets which is till date the most memorableachievement by the Oranje brigade.

Six players who played that day -- Bas Zuiderent, PeterBorren, Pietar Seelaar, Tom de Grooth, Alex Kerevezee, Ryanten Doeschate -- are in the current squad and would be lookingto do an encore here.

However, Dutch coach Peter Drinnen is all cautious whenreminded of that achievement.

"We don''t want to get ahead of ourselves as we want toperform to the best of our abilities," Drinnen said.

The focus of the England team will be obviously on theirstar batsman Kevin Pietersen who will be seen in a new avataras an opener.

The destruction that KP can cause during fieldingrestrictions can be a bowler''s worst nightmare coming true inbroad daylight. And the Englishmen will be obviously hoping tomake full use of Powerplays with him around.

Pietersen was impressive in his new role when he emergedthe top-scorer for his team with a useful 66 during their 67run win over Pakistan in a warm-up game at Fatullah.

While England will be missing Eoin Morgan in themiddle-order, a lot will depend on how Ian Bell, Ravi Boparaand Paul Collingwood perform during the middle overs when theproceedings will slow down a bit. More PTI KHS PM MRM

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