For days, Peter Borren, the Netherlands captain, had talked the talk, underscoring how desperate his team was to pull off an upset. On Monday (March 31) the Netherlands put those words in action, stunning England with an enthusiastic and skillful display. Chasing a modest 134 for victory against a tigerish Netherlands team desperate to create an upset, Stuart Broadís men capped a winter of misery by being bowled out for 88 and losing by 45 runs.

While the Netherlands stuck to its task admirably, grabbing every half-chance and allowing no misses on the field, and gave itself every hope of picking up wickets, it was Englandís batsmen who were chiefly responsible for their plight.

Michael Lumbís favoured mode of dismissal was the chip to cover, a replica of how he had got out against South Africa. Alex Hales tried to play his natural aggressive game, but picked the wrong ball to pull and had his bails clipped. Eoin Morgan, usually so clever in his shot selection, drove hard at one outside the off stump with no foot movement, and edged to slip.

At 26 for 3, England was wobbling, but with no pressure from the run-rate, and plenty of batting to follow, all it would have taken to get across the line was one good innings or reasonable partnership. But, even without trying to force the pace, even without playing a shot in anger, batsman after batsman contrived to get himself out.

Moeen Ali failed to notice a change of pace from Peter Borren and went through with an airy drive, picking out the man at cover. Jos Buttler was not watching Logan van Beek closely enough, and a back of the hand delivery was lofted to deep midwicket. At 42 for 5, with half the overs gone, England had left itself needing to score at 9.2 runs per over with half the batsmen dismissed.

Tim Bresnan was run out taking on the arm of Mudassar Bukhari, whose bullet throw from the deep came in just above the stumps, allowing Borren to whip off the bails before the second run could be completed. Ravi Bopara (18) provided hope, but was a case of too little too late, and when he tried to swing van Beek over the leg side, Peter Seelar stood on tip toe inches in front of the ropes and took the catch.

Chris Jordan and Broad did not make a significant dent, and the England innings came to an end when James Tredwell, trying to go big, hit the ball into no manís land, but a proper mix up between the two batsmen led to a straightforward run-out. As the Netherlandsí players came together in a euphoric huddle, England was left wondering how things had come to such a pass, after it had won the toss and stuck the opposition in less than three and a half hours earlier.

Asked to bat, the Netherlands used the same calm and composed approach that allowed the side to post a fighting total against New Zealand. Stephan Myburgh likes to play aggressively at the top of the order, his flashing bat taking on the bowling, whether slow or quick. Michael Swart, who has been more circumspect, did not attempt to match his partner shot for shot.

Myburgh and Swart put on 34 for the first wicket before England broke through, Broad inducing a tame chip to mid-on from Swart. Wesley Barresi joined Myburgh, and the tempo lifted. Baresi was especially comfortable off the back foot, cutting when there was width and pulling strongly if the ball was straight.

Between boundaries Baresi was not quiet, pushing fielders hard for ones and twos even as Myburgh opened up. Stephen Parry, the left-arm spinner playing in place of Jade Dernbach, tossed one up to Myburgh, and out came the slog sweep, depositing the ball over midwicket.

Myburgh (39) was all set to launch, when he fell against the run of play, slapping Bopara straight down the deep backward square-leg fielderís throat. At 84 for 2, the Netherlands was well set up, and looked to Tom Cooper to take the game forward. But he struggled for timing from the word go, and when he did attempt to loft Broad over cover, Chris Jordan ran back, displaying the kind of raw athleticism that no other player on either side could have matched. Stretching full length, Jordan stuck his left hand out to pluck the ball out of the air as it dropped over his shoulder, and just to prove how easy all this was for him, the right hand grabbed his sunglasses as they fell from his cap.

Borren failed to get going and Barresi (48) managed to bat deep into the innings, only being dismissed in the final over as the Netherlands posted 133 for 5. On the day, it was plenty to send England packing.