The batting performance fell short of expectations. However, three of the top four batters—Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, and Suryakumar Yadav—got contrasting fifties before India’s bowlers capably defended 179 to easily defeat the Netherlands by 56 runs in their second group league match of the T20 World Cup here on Thursday and secure all three points in a tournament that is becoming more unpredictable for various reasons. Except for Hardik Pandya, who only bowled one over, each bowler claimed at least one wicket. Before India’s spinners strangled the life out of the Netherlands’ innings as they just managed to cling on to the last wicket, Bhuvneshwar Kumar began off with two maidens. India, which is now in first place in Group 2, has to defeat South Africa in Perth to essentially guarantee a spot in the semifinals.

Considering that India had decided to bat, The Netherlands didn’t do too poorly. The way Tim Pringle dropped Rohit Sharma in the fifth over showed that they had undoubtedly been affected by the situation. Pringle attempted to go back and retain the ball after Sharma miscued a short delivery over mid-on, but he was unable to resist tugging it. KL Rahul had already turned around after missing a flick, and the ball was angling in to strike him on the front pad. To rebuild the innings against some competent Dutch bowling, Kohli and Sharma joined forces. India seemed unconcerned about the delayed comeback because they understood when to crank up the heat.

The Netherlands was taken off guard by the acceleration’s rapidity. India scored only 100 runs off its first 80 balls before compiling 79 runs off its next 40, mostly because of Yadav’s 25-ball 51. After Sharma struck a direct shot to deep midwicket while attempting to clear the longer boundary, Yadav came on. Yadav sent a single into the sweeper cover before stealing two on the next pitch and displaying his range. In the next over, he faced up against Paul van Meekeren first. He moved over the stumps to smash a 141 kph ball over backward square-leg for a boundary and then smashed a stunning cover drive for another four. One of the more talented Dutch allrounders, Bas de Leede, was also hoisted over extra cover for four runs. De Leede became more packed, but Yadav created space by moving back and slamming it through the covers for an additional four.

The Dutch began to stumble after Yadav began identifying holes that they were unaware of. While not uninteresting, the bowling failed to test India. With an unbeaten fifty and an additional 95 runs in eight overs, Kohli and Yadav essentially batted at their comfort level. Even though South Africa had just pounded Bangladesh, a far superior bowling team, for 205 in the last game here, 179 appeared average for the surface. Yadav concurred that it may be difficult to score runs due to the track’s two-pace characteristics.

Enter Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who began with a first-over maiden before knocking out Vikramjit Singh, the Netherlands’ opener, with a short, good-length ball that he attempted to heave past the line. India was prepared to put the Netherlands’ batting order to the test with spin after Arshdeep Singh and Mohammed Shami each bowled one over and Kumar delivered two maidens. Max ODowd was struck flush on his pads while attempting to swipe Patel’s 97 kph full-pitch delivery on the second ball of his first over. With spin coming from both ends in two more overs from Shami and Hardik Pandya, India was putting the brakes on the Netherlands.

If Dinesh Karthik had successfully collected the ball after Colin Ackermann gave him the charge instead of utterly missing it, Patel may have scored two runs in only two overs. However, Patel could not remain sidelined for very long. He once again used a thrown-up delivery, which de Leede attempted to cut but was unable to get past Pandya at the backward point. India further held the Netherlands down in the next four overs, allowing only 24 runs, after a sluggish start that saw them score just 27 runs in their Powerplay. When the Netherlands needed 129 off 60 balls, they were under pressure. However, the disparity between the two teams was swiftly made clear by Patel and Ashwin’s combination bowling. India captured four wickets and only allowed 39 runs to be scored between them.

After they were finished, the Netherlands needed 99 runs off the last five overs and were 81/5. It was over quickly. Pringle, who scored 20 points off of 15 shots, was duped by Shami’s slower ball into chipping Kohli at mid-off. Deepak Hooda, a replacement, hurried in from across mid-off to grab the catch after Kumar forced Dutch skipper Scott Edwards to mistime a reckless swing from his leg-cutter. Paul van Meekeren recovered his yorker and struck three straight boundaries to enable the Netherlands to finish on 123/9. Arshdeep almost completed a hat trick.