England visit the Netherlands for the first time on Friday when the two nations play out a historic ODI series, one which is anything but an exhibition given that there are World Cup qualifying points at stake across the three matches.
This is a chance for the Netherlands to show that they not only deserve ODI status but that they should be welcoming a lot more of the top nations while England get another chance to show why they are the world champions in a format they haven’t played much of in recent times.
This will be the second high profile ODI series on home soil this summer for the Netherlands after they recently had West Indies in this part of the world. That series didn’t go as planned for them though and they will be looking to give a much better account of themselves here at the very least. That might not necessarily equate to winning the series, as clearly that is a tough ask against a team as powerful as England, but if they can bloody their noses so to speak they will be able to draw encouragement from that.
The Netherlands will know they didn’t deliver enough with the bat in that series against West Indies so that is where they really need to find some improvement. On the face of it they have the personnel to go well with the bat although their order might not be as strong as a few years ago. Generally with the ball the Dutch go well but they don’t bowl to a batting unit with the strength of the England one too often. If they are to be competitive it is vital they take early wickets.
Quite remarkably when you consider how much cricket England play, this will be their first ODI series in 11 months and even in that series Covid forced them to play a third string side so many of the players on show here will be playing their first 50 over international in more than a year. England are in the middle of a Test series while this ODI series goes on so although they won’t be as weak on paper as when they took on Pakistan last year, they won’t be at full strength either which will be an inconvenience for new coach Matthew Mott.
It will be interesting to see if anything changes in the approach of this England side. When Mott took over an aggressive Australia women side he made them even more attacking and fearsome and that is exactly what England will be hoping for here. Their Test side has just led the way in that regard. If England are going to learn anything from this series it will be with the ball. They have named a couple of uncapped players who at some point should get the chance to shine and with injuries to a number of pace men there could be spots in important squads up for grabs down the line.
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Tom Cooper will play his first international of any kind since the 2016 T20 World Cup while county players Logan van Beek and Shane Snater will be available for this match. Colin Ackermann, Fred Klaassen and Roelof van der Merwe are with their county sides for the Vitality Blast.
England will be without the likes of Ben Stokes, Jonny Bairstow and Joe Root who are involved in the Test series with New Zealand but Jos Buttler and Liam Livingstone are here. Brydon Carse looks set to start while Phil Salt could partner Jason Roy at the top of the order.
You would imagine that England will be out to stamp their mark on this series at the earliest opportunity and not just this series but set their stall out for a month to come which includes white ball matches against both India and South Africa. I expect them to be at their brutal best, particularly having seen the Test side lead the way earlier in the week. They have a batting unit that could cause serious havoc here.
Jos Buttler has just come off the back of a brilliant Indian Premier League campaign while Liam Livingstone is a fearsome hitter of a cricket ball. Jason Roy, Phil Salt and Sam Curran have all had good Vitality Blast campaigns with the bat while Eoin Morgan and Moeen Ali are clean hitters too. The straight boundaries are pretty small on this ground and they might be red rags to a bull to this England team who will want to put a marker down in their first match under a new coach. I think backing England to hit more than 8.5 sixes is the way to attack this opener.
Back England – Over 8.5 sixes for a 3/10 stake at 1.83 with Bet365