Virat Kohli crushed a second consecutive half-century as India beat the Netherlands by 56 runs on Thursday to put themselves in a strong position at the T20 World Cup. The Indians went into the game on the back of their thrilling last ball win over Pakistan in Melbourne over the weekend, where Kohli also played with the bat. They brought some of that energy to a heady Sydney Cricket Ground to loot 179-2 before keeping the feisty Dutchmen at 123-9 in front of 36,000 fans. Kohli (62 not from 44 balls) and skipper Rohit Sharma (53 from 39) were both well matched and shared a score of 73 points.
Suryakumar Yadav, arguably the world’s best T20 batsman in current form, was also in the runs, hitting 51 from 25 balls while India crunched 112 from the last 10 overs.
India came to the World Cup in ominous form, winning back-to-back series at home against Australia and South Africa as they target their first global silverware since the 2013 Champions Trophy.
Thursday’s dominant win took them to the top of Group 2 on four points, ahead of South Africa on three, after the Proteas destroyed Bangladesh earlier in the day. The Dutch remain anchored at the bottom after two defeats out of two.
Two of the six teams in the group advance to the semi-finals.
After winning the toss and opting to bat in the first-ever T20 clash between the two teams, Indian opener KL Rahul failed to fire again, with Paul van Meekeren capturing lbw at nine.
That brought superstar Kohli to the fold — cue huge roars from the drum-beating, flag-waving crowd.
He and Rohit turned on the style and crossed some top-class boundaries, but the tight Dutch offense refused to let them walk away with it, limiting India to 67-1 halfway through the innings.
Rohit was in good contact, putting forth his 29th T20 half-century in his 144th game, cracking four sixes along the way, before looking for another one, taken by Colin Ackermann at Fred Klaassen’s ropes.
Yadav joined Kohli and the runs started to flow more freely.
Kohli reached his second consecutive 50th and 35th in his T20 career with a single, as the pair sent India to a strong total, with a six on the last ball.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar sent a girl down to kick things off in the Dutch response and got his first wicket in his second left when Vikramjit Singh went for a pullshot but missed and the ball snapped the bails.
Spinner Axar Patel was charged early and struck with his second ball, claiming dangerous opener Max O’Dowd for 16 after he appeared to sweep but missed completely.
It was difficult to come up with runs and the Netherlands crawled to only 51-3 from 10 overs.
Ravi Ashwin’s spin caused all sorts of trouble and he removed Ackermann (17) and Tom Cooper (9) in the same move as they went for big hits, with Holland’s tail barely wagging as they were easy to beat.
(This story was not edited by NDTV staff and was generated automatically from a syndicated feed.)
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