Captain Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and Suryakumar Yadav hit half-centuries in propelling India to a challenging 179/2 against the Netherlands in their second Group 2 match in Super 12s of Men's T20 World Cup at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Wednesday.
With the Netherlands putting a lid on the scoring rate, India found it difficult to break free on a two-paced pitch. But Rohit (53 off 39 balls) and Kohli (62 not out off 44 balls) shared a 73-run stand for the second wicket despite being scratchy at the start.
Suryakumar (51 not out off 25 balls) then changed the tempo of the innings with his 360-degree style of batting and had an amazing 95-run stand off 48 deliveries with Kohli for the third wicket to set a stiff 180-target for the Netherlands.
Electing to bat first, K.L Rahul got off the mark with a breezy drive past mid-off off Fred Klaassen. But in the third over, Rahul missed a flick and trapped lbw by a late inswinger from Paul van Meekeren though replays later showed the ball would have missed hitting leg-stump.
With the Netherlands getting the ball to swing both ways and it stopping on the batters occasionally, India struggled for fluency and timing. Though Rohit Sharma pulled van Meekeren for a six over deep square-leg and nailed a square-cut through off-side for four, he wasn't at his best.
Rohit Sharma had slices of luck on his side: his miscued pull off Klaassen in the fifth over was dropped by Tim Pringle at mid-on, and in the next over, his uppish flick off van Meekeren landed just in front of Pringle again at short fine leg.
Post-Powerplay, with Virat Kohli struggling to find boundaries, Rohit Sharma cut loose by pulling Logan van Beek for a six over wide long-on. Luck again fell in his favour as he successfully survived an lbw appeal on the very next ball.
From there, Rohit found his groove, uppishly cutting Bas de Leede through backward point for four, followed by a six through top-edge off the pull for successive boundaries in the tenth over.
Rohit then hit Pringle for back-to-back fours through leg-side to get his fifty in 35 balls. But in the next over, he was caught at deep mid-wicket off Klaassen while swiping across the line.
Suryakumar's arrival opened the floodgates for India, using the crease well and showing his impeccable wrist work to hit three fours in his first seven balls. He upped the ante against de Leede in the 16th over, striking him for successive fours through the off-side.
Kohli also joined the boundary party by heaving de Leede over short fine leg and then lofted Klaassen over mid-off for four more in the 17th over. He then enthralled the crowd with a superbly timed loft over extra cover for six and bring up his second fifty on the trot in 37 balls.
Suryakumar carved two more delightful boundaries before ending the innings with a beautifully flicked six over deep backward square leg off Logan van Beek to get his fifty in 25 balls and walk off the field unbeaten with Kohli by his side while holding their arms aloft as India got 112 runs off the last ten overs.
Brief scores: India 179/2 in 20 overs (Virat Kohli 62 not out, Rohit Sharma 53; Paul van Meekeren 1/32, Fred Klaassen 1/33) against Netherlands.