Dutch positives aplenty despite 160-run loss to India

Roelof van der Merwe of Netherlands celebrates the wicket of Virat Kohli. Photo: ICC via Getty Images)

India 410 for 4 (Shreyas 128*, Rahul 102, Rohit 61, Kohli 51, De Leede 2-82) beat the Netherlands 250 (Nidamanuru 54, Engelbrecht 45, Siraj 2-29, Bumrah 2-33) by 160 runs

Despite a bottom-place finish, the Netherlands closed out their most successful 50-over World Cup campaign with a 160-run loss to hosts India in Bengaluru.

Out of the reckoning for a semi-final spot, the Dutch only needed to avoid a loss against India to seal a Champions Trophy spot. But it was easier said than done against a red-hot unbeaten Indian side, who created history with their longest streak of wins in a World Cup.

A maiden World Cup century by Shreyas Iyer, a quick fire 102 by KL Rahul and half-centuries from each of India’s top three batters laid the platform for their second highest World Cup total of 410-4 before the bowlers closed out their ninth successive win heading into the semi-finals.

In response, a fighting 54 from India-born, Rotterdam-based Teja Nidamanuru, laced with six sixes and a boundary, and a defiant 45 from Sybrand Engelbrecht underpinned the Netherlands’ second-highest total of the tournament of 250.

Opting to bat first under the sun, Indian openers Shubman Gill and Rohit Sharma flayed the Dutch bowlers to all corners to race off the blocks to 91 in ten overs, hitting five sixes and ten fours in the first powerplay alone.

Despite the opening burst, the Dutch bowlers struck back with the wickets of Gill, caught by a leaping Nidamanuru at the deep backward square leg boundary off Paul van Meekeren, and captain Sharma, mistiming a pull off Bas de Leede to Wesley Barresi in the deep.

Virat Kohli, playing at his IPL home ground with a raucous crowd chanting his name in anticipation, was denied a record-breaking 50th ODI century by his former Royal Challengers Bangalore teammate Roelof van der Merwe, firing a flatter, quicker delivery to peg back the off-stump.

At 200-3, Shreyas Iyer (128) and KL Rahul (102) stitched together a 208-run stand to put on a batting masterclass by rotating the strike well and finding boundaries at ease, regularly pulling and pouncing on any width offered. The last ten overs saw the pair shift gears and thump 126 runs, even bringing up their centuries as India finished five shy of their record ODI total.

The Dutch chase began promisingly as they became the fastest team to reach 50 against India this tournament, reaching 62-1 in ten overs but lost wickets at regular intervals from thereon to be bowled out for 250 in the 48th over.

Considering the same Indian bowling attack had bundled out semi-finalists South Africa for 83 and Sri Lanka for 55 coming into this match, it was a vastly improved batting performance for a side that had struggled as a unit in the face of scoreboard pressure while chasing.

The nine sixes hit by the Dutch batters, six by Nidamanuru alone, were the second most by the side in an ODI innings.

For the Netherlands, the World Cup may not have gone exactly to plan, having failed to reach their target of completing four wins, but offered plenty of signs of a team pushing the ceiling higher.

Not content by just being at a global, showpiece tournament, in defeating South Africa by 38 runs in Dharamsala and Bangladesh by 87 runs in Kolkata, they laid down a marker, underpinning their resilience and ability to compete for longer periods of time.

Looking ahead

Barring three T20Is against Pakistan and a yet-to-be-confirmed triangular series involving Ireland, and Scotland, ahead of next year’s T20 World Cup, the Dutch have no fixtures against the top-flight Test-playing nations. If Ryan Cook’s pre-match press conference was anything to go by, things are looking up despite uncertainties.

“I have actually had a few teams’ coaches approach me and ask about our schedule and how potentially they could fit into their schedule, so that bodes well,” Cook had revealed on the eve of the game. “But I know the international schedules are quite full.”

The Dutch will next compete in an eight-team World Cricket League 2 involving Namibia, Nepal, Oman, Scotland, the United States, Canada and the UAE starting February next year.

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