India stutter past Dutch
Yuvraj rides to the rescue after minnows threaten Delhi shock
By Graeme Mair. Last Updated: 09/03/11 6:30pm
Finisher: Yuvraj saw India across the line with 51 not out
India were made to work hard for a five-wicket victory over the Netherlands at Feroz Shah Kotla, a result that puts the co-hosts two points clear at the top of Group B.
Having seen their spinners put the brake on a promising start and strangle the life out of the Netherlands' innings, India were left to chase a modest target of 190 under floodlights.
But, after racing to 69-0 inside eight overs, left-arm spinner Pieter Seelaar (3-53) removed Virender Sehwag (39), Sachin Tendulkar (27) and Yusuf Pathan (11) in the space of nine balls.
A shock even briefly looked possible when Dutch skipper Peter Borren bowled Virat Kohli (12) to leave India on 99-4 in the 15th over.
Yuvraj Singh joined local boy Gautam Gambhir to add 40 for the fifth wicket before Mudassar Bukhari bowled Gambhir (28) behind his legs to put India back in peril at 139-5.
It needed a mature approach from Yuvraj and Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the sixth-wicket pair adding an unbroken 52 to see their side home from the third ball of the 37th over.
Yuvraj sealed the win with his seventh boundary, in the process completing his 48th ODI half-century to finish on 51 not out, while skipper Dhoni played a supporting hand with an unbeaten 19.
Netherlands openers Eric Szwarczynski and Wesley Barresi had earlier put a flat pitch in perspective during an opening alliance of 56 in 15.2 overs after Borren called correctly at the toss.
Leg-spinner Piyush Chawla (2-47) finally made the breakthrough by surprising Szwarczynski with a googly and Barresi soon followed, lbw to Yuvraj's left-arm spin (2-43).
Third-wicket pair Tom Cooper (29) and Ryan ten Doeschate (11) also wasted promising starts and, from 99-2, the associate nation crashed to 151-8, including two run outs.
Borren hammered two sixes in 38 from 36 balls to at least give his side something to bowl at, before Zaheer Khan cleaned up the tail to finish with 3-20.
A rout was on the cards as Sehwag and Tendulkar matched each other stroke for stroke at the start of India's reply but spinner Seelaar had other ideas.
The 23-year-old had Sehwag held at backward point, Tendulkar caught at long-off and pouched a tame return chance from Yusuf as India's aggressive approach became reckless.
Yuvraj spared their blushes to collect his second man-of-the-match award in a row - and India are now on the brink of the quarter-finals with two group games still to play.