England were made to sweat before eventually overcoming a Ryan ten Doeschate-inspired Netherlands side by six wickets in their World Cup Group B opener in Nagpur.
The Dutch minnows threatened a major upset when a superb career-best 119 from Essex all-rounder ten Doeschate helped them post 292, their highest ever score against a Test-playing nation.
However, half-centuries from captain Andrew Strauss (88) and Jonathan Trott (62) kept England well up with the required rate and another Essex man - Ravi Bopara (30 not out) - finished the job with just eight balls to spare.
Despite the victory, England know they must improve appreciably if they are to overcome pre-tournament favourites India in Bangalore on Sunday.
Bopara's cameo came on the back of a strong start from new-look England opening partnership Strauss and Kevin Pietersen.
The pair took England on to 50-0 from just 49 balls as Holland's new-ball bowlers found the going tough during the opening powerplay period.
Strauss was by far the more fluent of the openers and Pietersen fell to another left-arm spinner - Pietar Seelaar - when on 38, caught smartly by Dutch captain Peter Borren at extra cover.
Strauss had already registered his 27th ODI half-century by this point and he and Trott kept the scoreboard ticking over with scampered runs either side of the wicket.
But, with a sixth hundred on the horizon, the England captain eventually fell 12 runs short of the milestone, inexplicably pulling a short Mudassar Bukhari delivery to Tom Cooper running in from the midwicket boundary.
He trudged back to the pavilion with England on 166-2 and well up with the run rate, however Warwickshire duo Trott and Bell struggled to kick on as Holland's slow bowlers put the squeeze on.
The pair added 58, but no sooner had the batting powerplay been taken than did the third England wicket fall.
Trott, who moments earlier had posted his seventh one-day half-century in only 19 innings, was outdone by a smart piece of wicketkeeping from Wesley Barresi, who whipped off the bails with the right-hander on the walk having missed a leg-side delivery.
Veteran Paul Collingwood strode to the middle with 69 runs required for victory off 59 balls and he made his intentions clear with two early boundaries.
With the match still firmly in the balance, Ten Doeschate (2-47) continued his match to remember and sent nerves jangling in the England dressing room when he clean bowled Ian Bell (33) in the 43rd over.
But Bopara ensured there would be no repeat of their shock World Twenty20 defeat to Holland at Lord's in 2009 when he hit the first four deliveries of Bernard Loots' penultimate over of the match for the 13 runs required for victory.
Earlier, Bopara's Essex team-mate Ten Doeschate smashed three sixes and nine fours in an outstanding 110-ball innings to ensure Holland set a tough target, and posted the highest ever score by an associate country in the World Cup.
The powerful all-rounder capitalised on some uncharacteristically sloppy England ground fielding after opener Barresi (29) and number three batsman Cooper (47) had started strongly.
England's lowest moment came with Ten Doeschate dangerously poised on 47. His skied drive down the ground off Graeme Swann caused confusion between James Anderson and Pietersen and in the end neither attempted the catch and the ball dropped safe.
He brought up his fourth ODI century courtesy of an England overthrow, however Stuart Broad (2-65) returned to the attack to ensure he would not wreak much more damage thereafter.
Captain Peter Borren (35no) and Tom de Grooth (28) added useful runs down the order as the usually-reliable Anderson (0-72) found the going particularly tough.