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Cricket World Cup: India see off Netherlands in Delhi

World Cup Group B, New Delhi:
India 190-5 (36.3 overs) bt Netherlands 189 (46.4 ovs) by five wickets

 MS Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh

India too strong for Netherlands

By Jamie Lillywhite

India consolidated their place at the top of Group B in the World Cup with a five-wicket win over the Netherlands.

Peter Borren fired two sixes in his 38 but the Dutch were all out for 189 in the 47th over, Zaheer Khan taking 3-20.

Star openers Virender Sehwag (39) and Sachin Tendulkar (27) amassed 69 within eight overs in a thrilling riposte.

Tendulkar became the first man to 2,000 World Cup runs and though four wickets fell in seven overs, Yuvraj Singh's 51 saw India home with 81 balls remaining.

Chasing a modest total, India's charismatic batting line-up seemed intent on winning as quickly as possible, which made for great entertainment.

However, their insistence on pleasing a highly excitable New Delhi crowd baying for boundaries meant that, as against Ireland, they had some anxious moments before their depth of quality prevailed, Yuvraj winning the match with a four to seal his 48th one-day international half century.

Yuvraj Singh bowling against the Netherlands in New Delhi

Yuvraj delivery misfires against Dutch

The Netherlands had begun well after opting to bat and had 50 on the board for no loss in the 13th over, prompting India to turn to spin, which soon proved effective.

Diminutive leg-spinner Piyush Chawla, who had conceded seven runs per over in the last two matches against England and Ireland for only two wickets, struck in his third over with a googly that surprised Eric Szwarczynski (28) and bowled him.

Occasional left-arm spinner Yuvraj, fresh from his maiden five-wicket haul against Ireland, straightened one to trap Wesley Barresi lbw for 26 and claim his 100th one-day international scalp, then removed dangerman Ryan ten Doeschate who was well caught on the long-off boundary.

Virat Kohli
A flurry of wickets caused momentary concern amongst the home crowd

Seamer Ashish Nehra, taken off after just one over, was cleverly brought back just before the mandatory 34-over ball change in the hope of utilising any reverse swing that might be present and - just like that - drifted one away to take the edge of Tom Cooper (29).

Fellow left-arm swing bowler Zaheer returned at the other end and struck in his first over, Bas Zuiderent reviewing the lbw decision perhaps more out of hope of a no ball than any serious doubt regarding the line of the ball, replays confirming it would have knocked out middle stump.

Those calling for a reduced number of associate member nations in future tournaments would not have been dissuaded by some calamitous moments, which sadly overshadowed periods of genuine promise.

Alexei Kervezee called for a suicidal run and left Tom de Grooth with no chance of making his ground, then Kervezee chipped a long hop from Chawla straight into the hands of deep square leg.

When there was intent, the powerfully-built Bradley Kruger was needlessly run out, setting off for a single having struck straight to the fielder and failed to notice his captain Borren had not moved at the other end.

Borren, agricultural in style with a short backlift, used his fast hands to excellent effect to swipe consecutive legside sixes off Chawla and burly paceman Mudassar Bukhari carved two high and mighty maximums over cow corner.

But the skipper's defiant knock came to an end in rather sorry fashion when an attempted Dilscoop went more up than over and the innings soon ended with 20 deliveries unused.

There is pressure in that situation but you keep your eyes glued to the ball and build a partnership

Yuvraj Singh

India's box office opening pair had already erased 49 runs from their target after only six overs, all but nine of which came in boundaries.

Sehwag whipped the first ball of the innings for four and played some magnificent strokes, including a sumptuous punched straight drive for four and an effortless pull that sailed many rows back over mid-wicket for six.

Having backed away to hit six more over extra cover, followed by a deft late cut for four, the all-action Sehwag show ended when he sought a third successive boundary and sliced to point.

Tendulkar, who had favoured more delicate, wristy flicks, was caught at long-off and as big-hitting Yusuf Pathan was promoted to keep the big shots rolling it was he who was made to look like a character in the Goon Show as left-arm spinner Pieter Seelaar collected a simple return catch for his third wicket in nine deliveries.

Virat Kohli was bowled off the inside edge and when Gautam Gambhir departed for 28 to make it 139-5 in the 24th over it needed Yuvraj and captain Mahendra Dhoni (19 from 40 balls) to largely rein in their cavalier instincts and ensure they go into Saturday's battle of the favourites against South Africa in Nagpur with their unbeaten record intact.

Dhoni praised his two stars at the top of the order and said: "Sehwag and Tendulkar are the pick of our batting. We rely a lot on the start.

"There are still some areas we need to improve like the powerplay overs, and the lower order shouldn't have to come in to finish things off."

Man-of-the-Match Yuvraj added: "My job is to bat responsibly in the middle order and see the team to the end. There is pressure in that situation but you keep your eyes glued to the ball and build a partnership."

A rueful Borren said: "At 100-4 if we had sneaked another couple we were right in it, but to get back after the start they had I am proud of my boys."

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see also
World Cup photos
09 Mar 11 |  Cricket
Ireland make India toil for win
06 Mar 11 |  Ireland
Windies brush aside woeful Tigers
04 Mar 11 |  Cricket
Roach's hat-trick destroys Dutch
28 Feb 11 |  Cricket
England & India in thrilling tie
27 Feb 11 |  England
Ragged England sneak past Dutch
22 Feb 11 |  England
Superb Sehwag inspires India win
19 Feb 11 |  Cricket
Cricket World Cup 2011
09 Mar 11 |  Cricket

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