Yuvraj Singh welcomed his return to form after helping India to a five-wicket win over the Netherlands that extended its Cricket World Cup group lead.
Man-of-the-match Yuvraj took two wickets and scored an unbeaten 51 in New Delhi yesterday as India made hard work of beating the Dutch, who have now never defeated a Test-playing nation in 18 World Cup matches.
The Netherlands, who won the toss, were all out for 189 in 46.4 overs. Ryan ten Doeschate, who’s scored more runs and taken more wickets in one-day internationals than any other Dutchman, was dismissed for 11 by Yuvraj. India ended on 191-5 with 81 balls remaining.
“Last year was full of injuries, I was coming in and going out, so I am happy to be back in form,” Yuvraj said at the post-match ceremony. “My job is to play the middle overs and try to take the team to the end. I batted according to the situation.”
Netherlands captain Peter Borren led his team with 38 from 36 balls. Four other Dutch players had scores in the 20s.
India reached 69-0 before losing three wickets for 13 runs, all of them to slow left-armer Pieter Seelaar, including Virender Sehwag and Yusuf Pathan. The other, Sachin Tendulkar, was out for 27 after becoming the first batsman to score 2,000 Cricket World Cup runs. The loss of Virat Kohli made it 99-4.
Yuvraj and captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, on 19, guided India to victory in 36.3 of its 50 overs, Yuvraj hitting the winning runs with a boundary. Sehwag made 39, and Seelaar finished on 3-53.
“At 99-4 you might sneak a couple of wickets. But I’m proud of my boys,” Borren said. “We have two games coming up which are big games for us. Tonight will give us confidence.”
Dhoni said there are still some areas India needs to improve, “like the power play overs, and the lower order shouldn’t have to come in to finish things off.”
India has seven points atop Group B ahead of England on five, with West Indies and South Africa on four. Ireland and Bangladesh have two points and the Netherlands none.
Winning the seven-team group would mean co-host India faces the fourth-place finisher from Group A in the quarterfinals. The top four teams from each of the pools advance to the last eight after a round-robin competition.
New Zealand and Pakistan lead Group A with six points, with Sri Lanka and Australia on five. Zimbabwe and Canada have two and Kenya has none. Sri Lanka can take over at the top by beating Zimbabwe in Kandy today.
India next plays South Africa in Nagpur on March 12. The Netherlands meet Bangladesh in Chittagong two days later and Ireland on March 18.
South Africa Blow
The South Africans are likely to be without Imran Tahir, the tournament’s second-highest wicket-taker with 11, after the leg-spinner sustained a fracture in his left thumb during his team’s six-run loss to England four days ago.
“His thumb has been splintered and immobilized and a decision on what happens further will be made in the next two days,” South Africa team manager Mohammed Moosajee said in a statement on Cricket South Africa’s website.
The International Cricket Council said it approved England’s request to call up Chris Tremlett as a replacement for injured seam bowler Stuart Broad, who strained his side in the victory over South Africa.
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