Dutch dream of ruining England's Twenty20 vision

England open the ICC World Twenty20 against outsiders the Netherlands at Lord's on Friday in a match they dare not lose and the Dutch hope they might win.

updated: June 05, 2009 10:22 IST
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Hosts England open the ICC World Twenty20 against outsiders the Netherlands at Lord's on Friday in a match they dare not lose and the Dutch hope they might win.

In pace bowler Dirk Nannes, who plays at Lord's for Middlesex, the Dutch have a left-arm quick who can swing the ball late.

Australia-born Nannes didn't hit top form during the Netherlands's recent warm-up games against Ireland and Scotland but if the seamer, who also plays for Indian Premier League side the Delhi Daredevils, is at his best then England need to watch out.

"Twenty20 is a funny game, all it takes is for a couple of us to fire and we will be challenging the big boys," said Nannes.

All-rounder Ryan ten Doeschate is another key figure for the Dutch and this match could see him in action against at least two of his Essex team-mates in opening batsman Ravi Bopara and wicket-keeper James Foster, with the big-hitting Graham Napier also in England's squad.

"It will be nice to actually test myself against them as I play a lot with them," ten Doeschate said. Asked which side was the favourites for Friday's game, he replied: "The Netherlands, definitely.

"No it's hard to quantify. We are out for a one-off, special performance by two or three guys. Obviously, England are hot favourites."

But Netherlands captain and wicket-keeper Jeroen Smits is convinced his side can start the tournament proper with an almighty bang. "I'm sure we can spring a surprise," he said. "We have a quality 20-over team.

"They have some quality players but it comes down to who is best on the day and I think we can compete and I'm sure we can do a job on Friday."

England have never won a major one-day tournament and, despite pioneering cricket's shortest format at county level, are not among the favourites now.

They struggled to get past Scotland in a warm-up match before overwhelming the West Indies, a side they've beaten comfortably in Tests and one-dayers this season, in another practice match on Wednesday.

England head into this tournament without star all-rounder Andrew Flintoff (knee injury) but key batsman Kevin Pietersen looks to be recovering from an Achilles problem.

With the Ashes still to come this season, there is a suspicion that England's sights remain fixed on Tests with regular captain Andrew Strauss stepping down temporarily because of a lack of Twenty20 form.

But all-rounder Paul Collingwood believes low expectations for England, who at the inaugural World Twenty20 in South Africa two years ago only managed a win over Zimbabwe, could work in the hosts' favour.

"We're very much dark horses and hopefully that will give the boys a bit more of a licence," he said.

"The belief and the freedom to go out there and express yourself is important in this form of the game so hopefully that gives the boys a bit more of a licence and they won't have as much pressure on them."

England (from): Paul Collingwood (capt), James Anderson (wkt), Ravi Bopara, Stuart Broad, Adil Rashid, James Foster, Robert Key, Dimitri Mascarenhas, Eoin Morgan, Graham Napier, Kevin Pietersen, Owais Shah, Ryan Sidebottom, Graeme Swann, Luke Wright

Netherlands (from): Jeroen Smits (capt/wkt), Peter Borren, Mudassar Bukhari, Tom de Grooth, Maurits Jonkman, Alexei Kervezee, Dirk Nannes, Ruud Nijman, Darron Reekers, Edgar Schiferli, Pieter Seelaar, Eric Szwarczynski, Ryan ten Doeschate, Daan van Bunge, Bas Zuiderent

Pitch: Good batting surface expected but may lack pace

Start: 1630GMT

Umpires: Steve Davis (AUS) and Asoka de Silva (SRI)

TV umpire: Tony Hill (NZL)

Match referee: Alan Hurst (AUS)