England and Netherlands eye Champions Trophy qualification in battle of wooden spooners
Pune, Nov 7 (PTI) Casting aside their shattered title defence dream, England will now set sights on restoring their pride and secure a berth in the 2025 Champions Trophy when they face a plucky Netherlands in the World Cup here on Wednesday.
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.
Both teams are out of the reckoning for a semifinal spot. 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.
But with ICC announcing that the top seven teams and hosts Pakistan will qualify for the 2025 Champions Trophy, there has been a scramble for the last few spots.
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.
To avoid the ignominy of missing the cut for the prestigious Champions Trophy, England must win their remaining two fixtures against the Netherlands and Pakistan.
But that's easier said than done as both confidence and form has deserted the ageing England side, which looked extremely dangerous on paper.
The batting unit has failed miserably. Openers Jonny Bairstow and David Malan have struggled to give the kind of start expected of them while Joe Root's famed consistency too has deserted him. Skipper Jos Buttler and the big-hitting Liam Lingstone are also woefully out of form.
For England to win, their batters need to fire.
The England bowling unit has performed a touch better but it is one dimensional and lacks variety. The English bowlers have been inconsistent and have struggled in the Indian conditions. Ben Stokes, who is playing as a specialist batter, not rolling his arm has compounded their woes.
With Stokes set to undergo a knee surgery and David Willey retiring from international cricket after this tournament, there have been calls to give the likes of youngsters Harry Brook and Sam Curran game time.
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.
The Netherlands may be tempted to recall Vikramjit Singh after promoting Wesley Barresi to the opening slot in the game against Afghanistan didn't work.
Squads: England: Jos Buttler (c), Moeen Ali, Gus Atkinson, Jonny Bairstow, Sam Curran, Liam Livingstone, Dawid Malan, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Harry Brook, Ben Stokes, Brydon Carse, David Willey, Mark Wood and Chris Woakes.
Netherlands: Scott Edwards (c & wk), Colin Ackermann, Wesley Barresi (wk), Bas de Leede, Aryan Dutt, Sybrand Engelbrecht, Ryan Klein, Teja Nidamanuru, Max O'Dowd, Saqib Zulfiqar, Shariz Ahmad, Logan van Beek, Roelof van der Merwe, Paul van Meekeren and Vikramjit Singh.
Match Starts: 2pm IST. PTI APA APA TAP
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