India go 9-0 as Shreyas and Rahul smash hundreds to beat Netherlands

by 24USATVNov. 12, 2023, 9:01 p.m. 19

It began with the 18th ball of the match when Gill charged down the pitch and launched Aryan Dutt onto the roof of the stand past long-on. Dutt had already conceded 16 runs from his 11 balls to that point, 12 of those in fours to Rohit, who swept and cut to great effect. If ever there was an example of the muscle India have shown at this tournament, this was it. And while Netherlands didn't exactly crumble in pursuit, batting deep into the 48th over for their 250 as India used nine bowlers including Kohli and Gill, they had been left with too much to do.

Rohit tormented the Netherlands bowlers either side of the pitch while Gill was downright cruel, clearing the boundary almost at will. Left-arm spinner Roelof van der Merwe entered in the ninth over to try and prise apart a stand between two righ- handers which by now had ballooned to 73 runs. He was the fifth bowler to try, all of them in vain after 10 overs, as Rohit and Gill closed out the powerplay on 91 without loss with five sixes and 10 fours between them.

So it was with audible disbelief that the crowd exhaled when Gill departed for 51 off 32 balls, failing to clear Teja Nidamanuru just inside the boundary rope at deep backward square leg. Then, having managed to stem the flow of runs, Netherlands rejoiced when Rohit picked out Wesley Barresi wide of long-on to fall for 61.

Kohli took time to get going with just seven runs from the first 18 balls he faced but he found his rhythm and ended up raising his half-century off 53 deliveries. It was his hundred that onlookers were most interested in, Kohli poised to pull clear of the ODI-record 49 centuries he shares with Sachin Tendulkar, but it wasn't to come on this occasion. Kohli faced just three more balls and added only one run before his off stump was rattled by a van der Merwe delivery that skidded on as the batter sat back in his crease attempting to cut.

In the meantime, Shreyas had taken India past 200 in the 29th over. He then brought up his half-century, sublimely threading a Bas de Leede delivery through extra cover, marking the first time in 50-over World Cups that the top four batters in any team had all scored fifty. Rahul became the fifth when he brought up a 40-ball half-century in only the third instance of the top five passing the milestone in ODIs.

It was the fourth-wicket pair who converted their starts, Shreyas signalling as much with a disdainful six off Paul van Meekeren over extra cover and when he thumped van Meekeren for another maximum over long-on, the slack-jawed expression on van der Merwe's face said it all. Rahul followed suit two balls later, whipping the ball over deep square leg and the crowd positioned there into a frenzy.

Shreyas reached his maiden World Cup century, and fourth in ODIs, off 84 balls with a single and he didn't let up, thrashing three sixes off Logan van Beek in the 49th over. Rahul had punished anything outside off stump with the most elegant of hands but he could be brutal too, moving into the nineties with a six over deep midwicket and bringing up his ton off just 62 balls - and India's 400 - with a flick over deep square leg.

With 42 runs coming off the last two overs, Rahul's dismissal on the penultimate ball for 102 was hardly a blip, his job - and that of his fellow batters - complete and Shreyas walked off unbeaten on 128 from 94 balls.

But when Colin Ackerman drove Siraj down the ground on the first ball of the ninth over, Netherlands became the fastest team to reach 50 against an India bowling attack which has been formidable at this World Cup, reaching 62 for 1 at the end of the powerplay.

Then Kuldeep Yadav entered the attack, however, and struck in his second over, trapping Ackermann lbw for 35. Kuldeep looked less than impressed when Max O'Dowd lofted the ball straight to long-on only for the ball to pop through Siraj's hands and strike him in the throat. But Ravindra Jadeja limited the damage - in runs at least - when he entered the attack three balls later and bowled O'Dowd immediately as Siraj walked to the dugout flanked by team medical staff, although he later returned to action.

As if the Bengaluru crowd wasn't already where the party was at, Kohli fired up the revellers even more as he sent down a rare three overs and snared a wicket with his ninth delivery, Scott Edwards chasing a wide one down the leg side and sending an edge to Rahul. Gill joined the fun with two wicketless overs for 11 runs having only bowled seven balls in international cricket previously, but Jasprit Bumrah was all business when he fired a yorker onto the foot of de Leede's off stump, leaving Netherlands 144 for 5 after 32 overs.


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