England provided their Dutch hosts with a cricketing masterclass in the first game of their Super League ODI series at the VRA Ground in Amstelveen on Friday, posting a new world record total for both ODIs and List A matches as they ran up 498 for four and then dismissed their opponents for 266 to win by a thumping 232 runs.
There were centuries for Phil Salt, Dawid Malan and Jos Buttler, the last an extraordinary 70-ball knock of 162 not out, with seven fours and 14 sixes, as England took full toll of a wilting home attack.
Dutch skipper Pieter Seelaar had won the toss but then, astonishingly, gave England first use of what promised to be a magnificent pitch for batting. One could only speculate about the reasoning behind such a counter-intuitive decision.
It seemed, though, that his decision might be vindicated when Shane Snater bowled Jason Roy with the ninth delivery of the match, but there was to be no further success for 28 overs as Salt and Malan plundered a second-wicket stand of 222, Salt hitting 14 fours and three sixes in his innings of 122 before he chased a Logan van Beek bouncer outside his off stump and was caught by Philippe Boissevain.
That does not tell the whole story, however: had Snater been able to hold onto a chance at deep point from Salt when he had made 40 and the total was 76, and had an LBW decision against Malan three balls later been upheld by DRS, rather than the ball tracker attributing a degree of swerve to Seelaar’s delivery which would have been worthy of any snooker player at the Crucible Theatre, England would have been three down with two new batters at the wicket.
Instead of which, a composed Malan was on 86 when he was joined by Buttler and with 20 overs left the new man immediately took the tiring bowling by the scruff of the neck.
He, too, enjoyed a measure of good fortune: in one over from Seelaar his initial six narrowly evaded Vikram Singh at long on and then, after belting two more as he raced from 17 to 37 in the space of four deliveries, he was put down by Musa Ahmad at long off.
Malan eased past his hundred, but all attention was now on Buttler, whose fifty came from just 27 deliveries, and by the time he reached his century, made from 47 balls and taking just one more than his English record, he had almost overtaken his partner.
Malan eventually fell in the 45th over, caught by De Leede at deep backward square off Seelaar for 125, but he and Buttler had added 184 for the third wicket, and England were beginning to look at the 481 they had made against Australia at Nottingham in 2018.
Eoin Morgan joined Buttler, swung at Seelaar’s next delivery, was struck on the pad, and when the Dutch went upstairs the England skipper was on his way.
Liam Livingstone averted what would surely have been one of the strangest hat-tricks in history, and he and Buttler now set about piling on the agony for the Dutch attack.
Buttler needed just 18 deliveries to go from 100 to 150, and Livingstone smashed a 17-ball fifty, 84 coming from the last five overs to take Buttler to his 162 and his partner to a 22-ball 66.
All the Dutch bowlers came in for severe punishment, none more so than leg-spinner Philippe Boissevain, whose ten overs cost 108 runs, 32 of them in a final over smashed by Livingstone for four sixes and two fours.
Van Beek worked hard all day for figures of one for 82, bowling particularly well in the mayhem at the death, and Seelaar, who courageously brought himself on in the first powerplay when England were first threatening to run riot, ended with two for 83.
But all in all it had been a soul-destroying experience for the Dutch, and the best they could hope for as they started their reply was an effort with the bat which would restore some of their self-belief.
Singh lasted just long enough to give some further evidence of his talent as a stroke-maker before he was bowled by David Willey, and then Max O’Dowd and Musa Ahmad added 80 in a second-wicket stand which forced Morgan to turn from his three left-arm pace men to the two spinners, Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid.
It was Ali who got the breakthrough, Musa attempting an ambitious scoop and Rashid diving to his right to take a fine catch behind the keeper; just previously, O’Dowd had gone to another ODI half-century, having twice lifted Rashid back over his head for six.
Tom Cooper joined O’Dowd, but the opener soon fell as well, bowled by Reece Topley for 55, made at exactly a run a ball.
Cooper, returning to the international stage after a six-year gap, now shared a stand of 50 with De Leede, but a flurry of wickets saw De Leede fall to Sam Curran for 28, Cooper caught off Ali for 23 and Van Beek a third victim for the off-spinner as the Netherlands sagged from 150 for three to 165 for six.
This brought Scott Edwards and Seelaar together, and they proceeded to put on 59 in eleven overs before Willey returned to bowl the Dutch captain for 25.
Not for the first time, Edwards now found himself batting with the tail, and so effectively did he do so that he reached another half-century, making a fine 56-ball 72 not out as the Netherlands were all out in their final over for 266.
It was a decent effort against a strong England attack, in which Moeen claimed three for 57 and there were two wickets apiece for Willey, Topley and Curran, and one could ponder what might have happened had Seelaar decided to take first use of the pitch.
As it is, England have established an enormous psychological advantage, and it will take all the resilience and determination the Dutch can muster if they are to be more competitive when the sides meet again on Sunday.
Feature picture credit: Sander Tholen
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