Defending champions England will face the Netherlands in the 40th match of the ongoing ODI World Cup 2023 on Wednesday.
Casting aside their shattered title defence dream, England will now set sights on restoring their pride and securing a berth in the 2025 Champions Trophy when they face the plucky Netherlands at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Pune from 2 PM onwards.
England have cut a sorry figure, managing just one win from seven matches in the World Cup to slip to the bottom of the 10-team table. The Netherlands are a tad better on ninth with two wins and four points.
Their execution has been all awry but England would like to end their World Cup campaign with a consolation prize of qualifying for the 2025 ICC Champions Trophy in Pakistan, assistant coach Carl Hopkinson said on the eve of their penultimate game against the Netherlands.
“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 Champions Trophy,” Hopkinson tried to put up a brave front as he became a lamb for slaughter in front of the touring English media.
He denied that England’s main focus has been Test cricket which they have dominated with their famous ‘Bazball’ approach to batting. The term is coined after their Test coach Brendon McCullum’s nickname.
“No, absolutely not,” when asked if too much emphasis on Tests resulted in this debacle.
The 33-run loss to arch-rivals Australia on Saturday was the final nail in the coffin for England. While the Dutch are also officially out of the race.
Champions four years ago, England have hit rock bottom in this edition. No England team has ever lost so many games at a World Cup. Whatever could go wrong has gone wrong for the Three Lions and they are no longer favourites even against minnows Netherlands.
The Dutch will be eager to pounce on England’s frailties. For the Netherlands, it is the golden opportunity to stake claim to the Champions Trophy spot.
The ‘Orange Army’, has arguably overachieved having secured wins over the high-flying South Africa and Bangladesh at this World Cup. A victory against England would perhaps be the crowning glory of their wonderful campaign.
Packed with a group of all-rounders, the Netherlands have shown they are capable of winning. Their top order and bowling department need to be more consistent.