The Netherlands all-rounder Ryan ten Doeschate's brilliant all-round effort went in vain as England huffed and puffed their way to a six-wicket win in a Group B encounter of the World Cup in Nagpur on Tuesday.
Chasing a stiff target of 293, England's batsman were made to work hard by the determined Dutchmen, who were finally done in due to lack of big match temperament as Paul Collingwood and Ravi Bopara added a crucial 55 runs for the fifth wicket to seal the match with eight balls to spare.
But no one can take credit away from Ten Doeschate (119 and two for 47), who almost single-handedly threatened to take the game away from the Englishmen at the VCA ground in Jamtha.
After their bowlers faltered, the England openers started the chase in right earnest as Andrew Strauss (88, 83 balls, 9x4) played an out of character innings while Kevin Pietersen (39, 61 balls, 5x4) looked scratchy in between some good shots. It was Strauss who made full use of the fielding restrictions as England scored 100 runs in 17 overs.
England's captain scored his 27th ODI half century off only 34 balls with the help of nine boundaries.
Pietersen was the first to depart when he drove uppishly off left-arm spinner Pieter Seelaar to skipper Peter Borren at short cover.
Strauss and Jonathan Trott (62, 65 balls, 4x4) then consolidated the innings for the second wicket adding 61 runs.
Strauss, who looked good for sixth ODI century, then mistimed a pull shot off Mudassar Bukhari's bowling to Tom Cooper stationed at square leg.
Trott and Ian Bell (33) didn't take too many risks in the middle overs as they were more intent on taking the singles and twos hitting the odd boundaries in between. They added 58 runs in 10.5 overs.
Ten Doeschate once again came to the rescue of his team as he struck at the start of the batting Powerplays with Wesley Barresi effecting a brilliant stumping to send back Trott.
If that wasn't enough, he cleaned up Bell in the 43rd over to get his second victim. But Bopara and Collingwood then ensured there was no further collapse and helped England script the third successful run chase in World Cup history.
Earlier, Ten Doeschate played the innings of his life to put the Dutch high in the saddle.
The first cricketer from an Associate nation to get an IPL contract (for Kolkata Knight Riders), Ten Doeschate showed why he is quite a few notches above his colleagues in the Dutch team during his innings of 119 off 110 balls, including nine fours and three sixes.
The ICC Associate Cricketer of Year was never in awe of the English bowlers. He showed special fascination for the region between mid-wicket and deep mid-wicket, as most of his scoring shots were hit in that particular arc.
His three sixes (one each of Paul Collingwood, Kevin Pietersen and Graeme Swann) at the VCA ground in Jamtha were a delight. Save a mistimed lofted shot on 47, the others were pure cricketing shots.
When Pietersen provided a juicy full toss, Ten Doeschate stepped out to hit him over deep mid-wicket for a six. His best shot was a six over deep mid-wicket off Swann. He just stepped out and lifted the ball with minimum backlift. His third six off Collingwood was hit in the same region with minimum footwork.
Doeschate's third wicket partnership of 78 with Tom Cooper (47, 73 balls, 3x4) and 64 for the fifth wicket with Tom de Grooth (28) off 60 balls helped him take his team to a commanding position.
He provided the last surge during the batting Powerplays in company of skipper Peter Borren (35 not out, 24 balls, 4x4) adding 61 runs in only 5.2 overs.
The best ever cricketer to have played for the country, Doeschate, who had earlier hit two half centuries in the previous edition reached his fourth ODI century â" first against a Test-playing nation -- due to five overthrows off 98 deliveries.
When he was finally caught at mid-wicket boundary off Stuart Broad's bowling, his team had already reached a score of 274.
The Dutch were also helped by the shoddy English fielding as they failed to stop the batsmen from running twos, misjudged catches and gave away at least 15 extra runs.
Save Swann (two for 35), the other frontline bowlers also failed to impress. James Anderson and Stuart Broad went for 73 and 65 runs respectively taking two wickets each.
Opting to bat, the Netherlands' openers Alexei Kervezee (16) and Wesley Barresi (29, 25 balls, 6x4) started on a positive note. Especially, wicketkeeper batsman Barresi, who took a few chances during the Powerplay overs. He singled out Stuart Broad for some rough treatment in the sixth over of the innings when the in-form England pacer went for 13, including three boundaries.
First was slash past outstretched hands of Matt Prior, the second one being an upper-cut to third-man boundary followed by square cut walking down the pitch.
Tim Bresnan, drew first blood for England in the seventh over of the innings. Replacing James Anderson, Bresnan followed Kervezee, who wanted to make room to hit through mid-wicket. The ball didn't rise enough and it ballooned to Prior behind stumps.
It was off-spinner Graeme Swann who got the Dutch glovesman stumped by his English counterpart with the scoreboard reading 58 for two. It was smart work from Prior as he whipped the bails with Barresi's foot planted on the line.
Cooper and Ten Doeschate then took charge as they didn't face much difficulty during their hour-long partnership that yielded 78 from 99 balls as the Dutchmen controlled proceedings in the first half.