T20 World Cup: India outplay Netherlands, jump to top spot

Kohli, Bhuvi & Rohit
Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma congratulate Bhuvneshwar Kumar, centre, on picking up a wicket. Photo: Twitter@BCCI

Sydney: Suryakumar Yadav bullied an inexperienced attack as the Indian team not for once took its foot off the pedal to thrash Netherlands by 56 runs for its second win in the T20 World Cup here on Thursday.

A target of 180, riding on half-centuries from skipper Rohit Sharma (53 off 39 balls), Virat Kohli (62 not out off 44 balls) and Surya (51 not out off 25 balls), was good enough for the Dutchmen who were never in the contest once India's powerplay overs ended.

The 'Orange Brigade' huffed and puffed its way to 123/9 in 20 overs as the relative slowness of the track post the Bangladesh-South Africa game effected its approach.

The Netherlands was the fourth team to bat on the track, and although there wasn't any considerable wear and tear, it slowed down enough for Axar Patel (2/18) and Ravichandran Ashwin (2/21) to tighten the noose on the opposition batters.

On expected lines, Mohammed Shami (2/9), Arshdeep Singh (2/37) and Bhuvneshwar Kumar (1/27) had an easy day at the office.

Vikramjit Singh
Vikramjit Singh is cleaned up by Bhuvneshwar Kumar. Photo: Twitter@ICC

Most of the Netherlands batters are not used to consistently playing an attack of this quality.

Indian origin opener Vikramjit Singh (1), whose roots are in Punjab's Cheema Khurd, didn't look like he belonged to this level before Bhuvneshwar ended his painstaking stay with a perfectly pitched length ball.

Once Ashwin and Axar were pressed into the attack, there was no chance that the Duchmen would make a match of it.

Axar didn't even turn a single delivery but the fast and tight wicket-to-wicket lines was good enough.

When India batted, Suryakumar once again provided the final flourish with a breathtaking knock and overshadowed senior pros Kohli and Sharma.

Rohit Sharma
Indian captain Rohit Sharma scored 53. Photo: Twitter@BCCI

The Indian batting save all but one fired in unison as skipper Rohit became the pace setter, while the team's No. 1 batter Kohli played the role of an anchor to perfection and also ended as the game's top-scorer.

Kohli conjured two vital partnerships -- 73 for the second wicket with Rohit and 95 for the unbroken third wicket with Surya -- as K L Rahul's (9 off 12 balls) second successive failure stuck out like a sore thumb.

But Rahul can consider himself a touch unlucky as right-arm seamer Paul van Meekeren's delivery angled into his pads and seemed like missing the leg-stump, but he was advised against taking the review by the skipper.

To be fair, the Netherlands bowlers did a reasonable job during the powerplay, when India scraped to 32/1.

India were 67/1 at the halfway stage, but after Surya came in, the Dutch bowling unit looked intimidated, and once Kohli started putting pressure there was no escape.

The back-10 yielded as many as 112 runs, courtesy Surya, who again hit some breathtaking shots including a lofted extra cover drive and a lap scoop over deep fine leg.

With as many as seven boundaries and a six off the last ball in his kitty, Surya showed why he is India's most important batter in the format.

After opting to bat, Rohit initially struggled with his timing and left-arm seamer Fred Klaassen was unlucky that Tim Pringle made a hash of an easy catch when the Indian captain had mistimed a pull-shot.

But once he connected a hook shot and then drove through the cover point region, he found some rhythm going his way, as the fifty came off 35 balls. His innings had four boundaries and three sixes.

While Rohit attacked, Kohli was happy to let him take the lead but remained alert while taking the singles and converting the ones into twos.

Once Rohit was dismissed, Kohli showed some aggression as his running between the wickets put pressure on the Netherlands attack.

Kohli's fifty came off 37 balls, with three fours and two sixes. But he ran the opposition ragged before allowing Surya to pounce on them for a delicious run-feast.

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