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India defeats the Netherlands 9-0 thanks to hundreds from Shreyas and Rahul


India defeated Netherlands 250 (Nidamanuru 54, Engelbrecht 45, Siraj 2-29, Bumrah 2-33, Kuldeep 2-41, Jadeja 2-49) by 160 runs with 410 for 4 (Shreyas 128*, Rahul 102, Rohit 61, Kohli 51, Gill 51).

India delivered a devastating blow to the Netherlands, who closed their World Cup with a 160-run loss, as the hosts concluded their unblemished run into the knockout stages spearheaded by Shreyas Iyer and KL Rahul’s masterful batting display.

After first-wicket duo Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill scored 100 runs apiece to set the stage for India’s 410 for 4, centurions Shreyas and Rahul put on a 208-run partnership. The Netherlands bowlers had no answer for an India batting lineup that swung the door off its hinges as it burst into the room and delivered an overwhelming monologue with the home crowd hanging on every word. Virat Kohli also passed fifty and put on 71 with Shreyas.

Gill sprinted down the pitch and blasted Aryan Dutt onto the roof of the stand past long-on with the match’s eighteenth ball. Up until then, Dutt had given up 16 runs in his 11 deliveries, 12 of them in fours to Rohit, who effectively swept and cut. This was the epitome of Indian strength at this event, if there ever was one. Even though India deployed nine bowlers, including Kohli and Gill, Netherlands did not exactly collapse in the chase, batting well into the 48th over for their 250, but they were left with too much to accomplish.

While Gill was blatantly brutal, clearing the boundary virtually at will, Rohit tormented the Netherlands bowlers on either side of the pitch. In the ninth over, Roelof van der Merwe, a left-arm spinner, came in to try to break up a partnership between two right-handers that had gotten to 73 runs. After ten overs, he was the fifth bowler to try, all in vain, as Rohit and Gill finished the powerplay on 91 not out, 10 fours and five sixes between them.

The fans let out an audible sigh of disappointment when Gill left the field for 51 off 32 balls after failing to clear Teja Nidamanuru at deep backward square leg, right inside the boundary rope. After stopping the run flow, Rohit picked out Wesley Barresi wide of long-on to fall for 61, much to the delight of the Netherlands.

With just seven runs from the first eighteen balls he faced, Kohli needed some time to get going. However, he eventually found his rhythm and reached his half-century off of 53 deliveries. The focus of observers was Kohli’s century, as he appeared ready to surpass the 49-century record in ODIs he shares with Sachin Tendulkar. However, this time, it was not to be. Before a van der Merwe delivery smashed his off stump as the batter leaned back in his crease trying to cut, Kohli faced just three more balls and added just one run.

Meanwhile, in the 29th over, Shreyas had guided India beyond 200. Subsequently, he achieved his half-century by expertly manipulating a delivery from Bas de Leede through extra cover. This was the first time in 50-over World Cups that all four of a team’s top batsmen have scored fifty. In just the third time that the top five have reached the milestone in One-Day Internationals, Rahul became the fifth player when he struck a forty-ball half-century.

The two at the fourth wicket turned their starts around, with Shreyas indicating as much with a contemptuous six off Paul van Meekeren over extra cover. When he hammered van Meekeren for another maximum over long-on, van der Merwe’s slack-jawed visage said it all. Two balls later, Rahul followed suit, blasting the ball over deep square leg and sent the onlookers into a frenzy.

With a single off 84 balls, Shreyas scored his first World Cup century and his fourth in ODIs. He didn’t let up, hammering three sixes off Logan van Beek in the 49th over. Rahul could be merciless when needed. He reached the nineties with a six over deep midwicket and reached his ton off just 62 balls, contributing to India’s 400 runs, with a flip over deep square leg. Rahul had punished everything outside off stump with the most exquisite of hands.

Rahul’s removal for 102 on the penultimate ball was hardly a blip, as his task and the jobs of his teammates batsmen were done, and Shreyas finished undefeated on 128 off 94 balls, with 42 runs coming off the last two overs.

Nine balls into the Netherlands’ run chase, Rahul returned to action, collecting Barresi’s outside edge as he tried to drive at Mohammed Siraj with a good, low catch behind the wickets.

However, the Netherlands became the first team to surpass 50 against an India bowling attack that has been extremely effective this World Cup when Colin Ackerman smashed Siraj down the ground on the first ball of the ninth over, finishing the powerplay at 62 for 1.

But then Kuldeep Yadav came into the attack, and he got Ackermann lbw for 35 in his second over. When Max O’Dowd lofted the ball straight to long-on and it popped through Siraj’s hands and struck him in the throat, Kuldeep didn’t seem too impressed. While Siraj was walking to the dugout with team medical professionals flanking him, Ravindra Jadeja entered the attack three balls later and bowled O’Dowd quickly, limiting the damage, at least in runs. However, he later returned to action.

As if the celebration wasn’t already taking place among the Bengaluru crowd, Kohli energised the audience even more by dismissing a rare three overs and claiming a wicket with his ninth ball, which left Scott Edwards chasing a wide one down the leg side and giving Rahul an edge. Having bowled just seven balls in international cricket before, Gill joined in the fun with two wicketless overs for 11 runs. However, Jasprit Bumrah was all business, launching a yorker onto the foot of de Leede’s off stump to leave the Netherlands 144 for 5 after 32 overs.

Siraj was the one who got rid of a resolute Engelbrecht, bowling for forty-five. Nidamanuru put up a valiant half-century with six sixes, but Rohit was the last to fall, taking a chance with his arm to end the match with his fifth ball.

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