Superb Stokes unable to deny Netherlands
Ben Stokes’ superb individual display proved in vain as the Netherlands shared the two-match 50-over series with the England Performance Programme courtesy of a four-wicket win in Pune.
Beaten by seven wickets in yesterday’s opening game, Peter Borren’s side responded strongly, with Worcestershire batsman Alexei Kervezee’s 92-ball 96 proving pivotal.
Stokes thumped 69 not out from just 48 deliveries to lift the EPP to 261 for six following healthy contributions from skipper Craig Kieswetter and Gary Ballance.
The Durham all-rounder then chipped in with 4-48, but the Netherlands still made it home with 22 deliveries to spare.
England were invited to bat and lost their openers - Varun Chopra and Michael Lumb - cheaply to teenage seamer Paul van Meekeren.
Kieswetter and Ballance steadied the ship with a third-wicket partnership of 75, only for the latter to fall with his score on 40.
The subsequent dismissals of Kieswetter, for 63, and Ben Foakes left the EPP on the back foot, but Stokes provided welcome impetus, striking six maximums and four fours in a belligerent innings.
He then accounted for Stephan Myburgh in the 11th over of the reply and Matt Coles ousted Michael Swart for 36.
Yet a stand of 139 between Kervezee and Tim Gruijters, who contributed a more reserved half-century, put the Netherlands firmly in control.
The EPP refused to give up and Stokes was responsible for three of the four late scalps that threatened to turn the tide. Kervezee was his third victim, bowled with a century in his sights.