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Ashes heroes England launch World Cup bid

Three-time finalists England launch their bid for a first ever World Cup against the Netherlands on Tuesday as fans on the Indian sub-continent wait for the tournament to hit top gear.

cricket Updated: Feb 22, 2011 13:36 IST
AFP
England

Three-time finalists England launch their bid for a first ever World Cup against the Netherlands on Tuesday as fans on the Indian sub-continent wait for the tournament to hit top gear.

England start as strong favourites for the Group B clash but skipper Andrew Strauss has warned his side to be aware of the threat from the Dutch, who beat England in the opening match of the 2009 World Twenty20 at Lord's.

Strauss, asked how relevant that result was to Tuesday's match, said: "Let's hope not but it underlines the point that you can't underestimate sides like Holland.

"If we are 10% off and they have a good day, we are in trouble."

England wicketkeeper Matt Prior said: "They're a team you cannot underrate or be too complacent against. We've seen what happened in the past and we don't want that to happen again.

"We'll be taking them very seriously, as seriously as any other team in this World Cup. You always want to start a competition with a good performance, no matter who you're playing against."

England are coming into the match on the back of a stamina-sapping tour of Australia where they were beaten 6-1 by their hosts in the one-dayers that came after their Ashes triumph.

In the four matches so far at the World Cup, there have been overwhelming wins for India, New Zealand, Sri Lanka and Australia but the Dutch will be looking to overturn the form book on Tuesday.

They boast an array of batting talent, including South African-born Ryan ten Doeschate, the owner of the highest average in international one-day cricket.

Ten Doeschate said memories of 2009 would help bolster Dutch resolve.

"Having beaten them in England should stand us in good stead. When we walk out on Tuesday hopefully some of those feelings will come back and that gives us a bit more of a chance," he said.

The current World Cup could be the last to feature the smaller international sides, with the next edition in 2015 featuring just 10 teams, down from the current 14.

The International Cricket Council has not yet revealed the qualification process but the plans have infuriated the associate nations, represented at the ongoing tournament by Canada, Ireland, Kenya and the Netherlands.

Dutch captain Peter Borren has called on his team to show they belong on the global stage.

"We need to prove ourselves on the field in a way that we can make our own statement with regard to what happens in the future of the 50-over World Cup.

"Everyone enjoys the underdog doing well and there's been instances of that throughout the World Cups. We're hoping by pulling off the sort of results that have happened in the past we can answer that question on the field."

Meanwhile Australian skipper Ricky Ponting was upbeat after his quick bowlers fired his side to a comfortable 91-run opening win over Zimbabwe in Ahmedabad on Monday in Group A

"There wasn't much in it for the quicks. I thought (Mitchell) Johnson was outstanding and (Shaun) Tait's just working up to match fitness so to get eight or nine overs out of him was a bonus," said Ponting, celebrating a record 40th World Cup cap.

Australia, seeking a fourth consecutive World Cup, have not lost a match in the competition since the 1999 tournament.