BENGALURU: The throbbing, surging, cheering sea of blue at the M Chinnaswamy stadium was broken only by a speck of orange, which was bright and bold. Rohit Sharma & Co celebrated Deepavali much like they started their league engagements in this World Cup – with a bang.
India vs Netherlands WC: India crush Netherlands by 160 runs
The home team kicked off festivities on Saturday night with a get-together with family members and support staff.Their last league engagement against theNetherlands seemed a minor detail in the itinerary. It finally was that as they extended their winning streak with a 160-run verdict over the Dutch.
Going in with an unchanged squad in a contest that was more a practice game ahead of Wednesday’s semifinal against New Zealand, it was an opportunity for the hosts to get some game time after a six-day break.
It was a scorecard for keeps with the first three batters – Rohit Sharma (61), Shubman Gill (51) and Virat Kolhi (51) – scoring half-centuries and the No. 4 and No. 5 – Shreyas Iyer (128 n.o; 94; 10×4; 5×6) and KL Rahul (102; 64b; 11×4; 4×6) – sizzling with centuries.
The anticipation of Kohli’s 50th ODI century hung heavy in the air, to such an extent that the crowd cheered when Gill was dismissed. But it was Iyer and homegrown talent Rahul who stole the thunder.
With India posting 410/4, chasing it was always mission impossible for the Dutch, but they fought before finishing with 250 in 47.5 overs. The likes of Max O’Dowd (30), Colin Ackermann (35), Sybrand Engelbrecht (45) and Teja Nidamanuru (54) showed spunk and spirit.
The Dutchman stretched the Indian bowling attack like no other team in the league phase. In three matches that India defended before this – against England, Sri Lanka and South Africa – the maximum they had to bowl was 34.5 overs against England.
Earlier, it was an Iyer-Rahul show all the way as the duo pulverised the Dutch bowling attack with the last 10 overs yielding 126 runs. Before them, Rohit and Gill showed sparks of brilliance which didn’t go the distance it could have. Netherlands decided to open with spinner Aryan Dutt, but that had no bearing on the openers’ intent.
Rohit got down to business with two boundaries over backward square leg in the first over. Dutt’s attempt to vary length and pace backfired on the youngster who was taken apart by Rohit and Gill, with the latter smoking the off-spinner on to the roof of the stadium early in the innings.
In eight overs, India raced to 73 and the 100 came in 11.4 overs. Gill was the first to depart, with his pull off Paul van Meekeren pouched superbly by Nidamanuru on the ropes. Rohit too followed a little after his half-century. The skipper mistimed his pull shot off Bas de Leede and handed a regulation catch to Wesley Barresi at deep mid-wicket.
Kohli, who came out to bat to deafening cheers, struggled but hustled. He wasn’t as fluent as the openers but rode on momentum. His stay at the crease was ended by Roelof van der Merwe when Kohli tried to cut a length delivery but allowed it to sneak past and disturb the timber. With nothing to lose, Netherlands did not hold back when they returned for the chase. They focused on giving a good account of themselves.
The Indian bowling at one point became free for all. Barring Rahul and Iyer, the rest of the players were tossed the ball. Even as the call of “Kohli ko ball do” gained momentum, the star cricketer bowled three tidy overs and accounted for the wicket of Netherlands skipper Scott Edwards.
Rohit, signalled India’s win with the wicket of the valiant Nidamanuru.