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Strauss on his guard

NAGPUR, February 21- England captain Andrew Strauss warned his side to beware the Netherlands when they take on the 'minnows' in their World Cup opener here on Tuesday.

England will be overwhelming favourites just as they were when they faced the Dutch in the opening match of the 2009 World Twenty20 at Lord’s.

However, the Netherlands went on to clinch a shock four-wicket win off the last ball.

Strauss, asked how relevant that result was to the World Cup opener, said on Monday: "Let’s hope not but it underlines the point that you can’t under-estimate sides like Holland.

"If we are 10 percent off and they have a good day, we are in trouble."

England wicketkeeper Matt Prior knows Dutch batsman Bas Zuiderent from the time the duo spent together at county side Sussex.

And with the Dutch effectively frozen out of future World Cups by the decision of the International Cricket Council to reduce the number of teams in subsequent editions from 14 to 10, Prior knows how fired up the Netherlands, who have several county players in their squad, will be for Tuesday’s match.

"I’ve played a lot of cricket with Bas Zuiderent at Sussex," said Prior.

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"We’re very good mates, and then there’s Ryan ten Doeschate at Essex.

"The one thing I do know is that they’re very keen to cause an upset. I met up with Bas on Saturday. They’re very excited about being here and causing an upset and taking one of the big teams down.

"They’re a team you cannot under-rate or be too complacent against. We’ve seen what happened in the past and we don’t want that to happen again.

"We’ll be taking them very seriously, as seriously as any other team in this World Cup. You always want to start a competition with a good performance, no matter who you’re playing against."

England were due to decide after Monday’s training session whether to pitch Graeme Swann straight into the team after the star off-spinner’s recent arrival in India following the birth of his son back in England.

Meanwhile all-rounder ten Doeschate said memories of 2009 would help bolster Dutch resolve.

"Having beaten them in England should stand us in good stead. When we walk out on Tuesday hopefully some of those feelings will come back and that gives us a bit more of a chance," he said.

England are coming into this match on the back of a stamina-sapping tour of Australia where, although they won the Ashes, they were beaten 6-1 by their hosts in the one-dayers that came after their Test triumph.

"Obviously that performance in the Ashes in Australia was incredible. They took a bit of a hiding in the one-day series, Australia really turned them over," ten Doeschate said.

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Group B also features co-hosts India and Bangladesh as well as South Africa, the West Indies and Ireland and ten Doeschate said the Dutch were determined to make amends for a 2007 pool display in the Caribbean where they won just one out of three matches, an eight-wicket victory over rival associates Scotland.

"We’ve got six games here and we want to put on a show and show that we have bridged the gap from four years ago when we were pretty poor in the Caribbean, all the associates were apart from Ireland.

"Every game against one of the big teams is a chance to show that, hopefully we can take one of them close and maybe draw them over the line. All four of the big teams in our group are going to be special games for us."

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