Ben Stokes rescues England again to set up big World Cup win over Netherlands

Spinners Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali then combine to bowl Dutch out cheaply for 160-run victory in Pune

Ben Stokes scored 108 runs off 84 balls during England's 160-run win over the Netherlands. AFP
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Ben Stokes once again came to England's rescue as his timely century pulled the struggling champions out of trouble and propelled them past 300 to set up a big World Cup win over the Netherlands.

England seemed to have lost their way at 192-6 in Pune on Wednesday and were struggling to reach anywhere near 300 with 15 or so overs to go.

But Stokes' 108, only the second individual century for England in the tournament, brought some life to the innings in the company of Chris Woakes (51) during a seventh-wicket stand of 129.

Their score of 339-9 was well beyond the Netherlands' reach. No Dutch batsman managed to reach fifty as England bowlers kept chipping away at the wickets.

The seamers did a tidy job up front. Chris Woakes had Max O'Dowd caught off a lazy shot to mid-off and David Willey followed up by having Colin Ackermann caught behind via a loose drive.

Then England's spinners broke any Dutch resistance. Leg spinner Adil Rashid picked up 3-54 and received good support from Moeen Ali (3-42).

Captain Scott Edwards hit a few heavy blows as he went on the counter-attack but when he fell for 38, giving Moeen his first wicket of the tournament, it was a body blow for his side.

Teja Nidamanuru top-scored with 41 off 34 balls but it was never going to be enough. The Netherlands were dismissed for 179 in 37.2 overs as the double world champions triumphed by 160 runs.

Earlier, opening batsman Dawid Malan led the way for England, the left-hander completing a 36-ball fifty that featured 40 runs in boundaries.

England, however, lost two wickets in quick succession. Joe Root fell for 28 in bizarre fashion as he was bowled between his legs by Logan van Beek attempting a reverse scoop.

And 133-2 became 139-3 when Malan was run out in sight of his second hundred of the tournament when sent back by Stokes going for a needless single.

Harry Brook gave his wicket away before England captain Jos Buttler and Moeen both fell tamely in single figures.

Stokes, dropped in the deep off a tough chance, survived a tight lbw review before smashing a no-ball from spinner Aryan Dutt – and the ensuing free-hit – for sixes.

The floodgates had opened and Stokes and Woakes plundered 124 runs in the last 10 overs.

A reverse swept four off paceman Paul van Meekeren, his sixth of the innings, saw Stokes complete a 78-ball century that included five sixes.

Stokes was out in the last over, finishing on 108 from 84 balls.

With the win, England jumped up to seventh position on the points table with one more match to go – against Pakistan.

It is imperative for England to finish inside the top eight at the end of the group stage as only then will they qualify for the 2025 Champions Trophy.

After the match, Stokes said: “Happy to get back to winning more than getting a ton. It's been a tough World Cup.

“We tried to take it as deep as possible and then cash in. Woakes and I used the scoreboard and we had lots of time to work with. We built a nice partnership, it's amazing how quick you can catch up.”

Updated: November 08, 2023, 4:27 PM