Ben Stokes hit an attacking century after Dawid Malan exploded at the top to power England to 339 for nine against the Netherlands in their penultimate World Cup match here on Wednesday.
Though England and Netherlands are out of reckoning for the semifinals, the contest between the two lowest-placed sides gains significance when it comes to qualifying for the 2025 Champions Trophy as only the top seven teams from the ongoing showpiece will qualify for the event.
Stokes (108 off 83) initially provided the stability in the middle before opening up towards the end, while Malan (87 off 74) got England off to a flier with his breezy knock during which he hit 10 fours and two sixes.
Stokes struck six fours and as many hits over the fence.
Chris Woakes too did his bit with a 45-ball 51.
Jonny Bairstow and Malan got England off to a brisk start after electing to bat.
Malan, in particular, looked at his attacking best as he flicked and drove Logan van Beek for three consecutive boundaries in the second over. He continued his onslaught against spinner Aryan Dutt (2/67), sending him through the covers and gully for two more boundaries in the next over.
Boundaries came thick and fast for England as the next over from Logan Van Beek also witnessed two hits to the fence — one each from Malan and Bairstow.
Netherlands had their first success in the final ball of the seventh over in the form of Bairstow, who was holed out by Paul Van Meekeren off the bowling of Dutt at backward square-leg.
But the dismissal hardly had any effect on Malan as he picked up three more fours from van Beek in the next over to take England to 70 for one in 10 overs.
Malan, in the process, brought up his fifty in 37 balls with the help of 10 hits to the fence.
Malan and Joe Root then played cautiously to take the innings forward before the former hit the first six of the innings, clobbering Roelof van der Merwe over square leg boundary.
An over later, Malan once again launched another attack on van der Merwe, dispatching him over midwicket boundary.
But two wickets in consecutive overs halted England’s charge.
First Root was cleaned up by van Beek in the 21st over as the batter went for a reverse scoop and then Malan was run out in the next over with England slumping to 139 for three in 22 overs.
Harry Brook didn’t last long as he pulled a short delivery from Bas de Leede (3/74) to Colin Ackermann at deep square-leg as Netherlands pulled things back.
England skipper Jos Buttler’s torrid time continued as he was holed out at mid-off by Teja Nidamanuru off van Meekeren soon.
Dutch spinners pulled things back in the middle overs as from 133 for two, England slumped to 192 for six by the 36th over after the dismissal of Moeen Ali.
But Stokes and Woakes had other plans as they shared 129 runs for the seventh wicket to take England past the 300-run mark.
Jonny Bairstow c van Meekeren b Dutt 15 Dawid Malan run out (Edwards/van Beek) 87 Joe Root b van Beek 28 Ben Stokes c Engelbrecht b van Beek 108 Harry Brook c Ackermann b de Leede 11 Jos Buttler (c) c Nidamanuru b van Meekeren 5 Moeen Ali c de Leede b Dutt 4 Chris Woakes c Edwards b de Leede 51 David Willey c Engelbrecht b de Leede 6 Gus Atkinson not out 2 Adil Rashid not out 1
Extras: (nb 1, w 20 21 Total: (For nine wickets in 50 overs) 339
Fall of wickets: 48-1, 133-2, 139-3, 164-4, 178-5, 192-6, 321-7, 327-8, 334-9.
Bowling: Aryan Dutt 10-0-67-2, Logan van Beek 10-0-88-2, Paul van Meekeren 10-0-57-1, Bas de Leede 10-0-74-3, Roelof van der Merwe 3-0-22-0, Colin Ackermann 7-0-31-0.