NEW DELHI, March 9 (PTI): India overcame some anxious moments before suppressing a spirited the Netherlands with a nervy five-wicket victory in a World Cup Group-B match and virtually secure a quarter-final berth here today.
After restricting the minnows to a modest 189, the fancied hosts started off with a flourish but lost wickets in a heap before scampering home with 81 balls to spare in what turned out to be another hard-fought win for the hosts.
Yuvraj Singh (51 not out) played another responsible knock to guide the team to the victory target on a slow Ferozeshah Kotla track.
Virender Sehwag (39), Gautam Gambhir (28) and Sachin Tendulkar (27) got the starts but failed to make it count.
With this win, India consolidated their position atop the points table with seven points and were almost certain to qualify to the quarter finals from the group.
Yuvraj hit a boundary to not only notch up his half century but also bring about the victory, sending a near capacity crowd at the Kotla into a frenzy. India will now travel to Nagpur to play their next match against South Africa on Saturday.
But it was not a very convincing performance by the Indians as they were made to sweat for the win by the minnows who had lost all their earlier matches by huge margins.
Chasing the paltry target, Sehwag spanked the first ball off pacer Mudassar Bukhari to the mid wicket boundary to launch the Indian innings with a flourish. Tendulkar opened his account in similar fashion by glancing Ryan ten Doeschate to the fence.
Tendulkar completed 2000 runs in the World Cup in grand style as he spanked ten Doeschate for three consecutive boundaries to entertain the crowd.
In the next over, it was Sehwag�s turn to massacre the Dutch bowling as he blasted Bukhari for three boundaries, although he could have been caught by Eric Szwarczynski at mid on. He was on 16 then.
With runs coming much too easily, Dutch captain Peter Borren introduced left-arm spinner Peter Seelaar in the sixth over of the innings.
The Indian openers put on 69 brisk runs before Seelaar provided the breakthrough for the Dutch by getting the prized scalp of Sehwag, whose 26-ball 39 contained five fours and two sixes. Sehwag went for a cut but only succeeded in hitting the ball straight to Alexei Kervezee at point.
The Indians promoted Yusuf Pathan to the number three slot and the lanky all-rounder got into the act immediately by clobbering Peter Borren for a six.
Earlier, three Dutch batsmen � Eric Szwarczynski (28), Wesley Barresi (26) and Tom Cooper (29) � got the starts but could not translate them into big knocks as the minnows lost wickets at regular intervals on a placid Ferozeshah Kotla track.
The opening pair put on 56 runs but the other batsmen succumbed rather tamely against a disciplined Indian bowling attack which exploited the conditions well. The visitors could have been in bigger trouble had it not been for Borren�s 36-ball 38 and Muddasar Bukhari�s (21) late onslaught.
Zaheer Khan was the pick of the Indian bowlers with 3 for 20 while Yuvraj (2/43) and Piyush Chawla (2/47) were the other wicket-takers.
E Szwarczynski b Chawla 28
W Barresi lbw b Y Singh 26
T Cooper c Dhoni b Nehra 29
R ten Doeschate c Khan b Y Singh 11
A Kervezee c H Singh b Chawla 11
B Zuiderent lbw b Khan 0
T de Grooth run out 5
P Borren c Nehra b Khan 38
P Kruger run out 8
M Bukhari B Khan 21
P Seelar not out 0
Extras: (B-6, LB-3, W-2, NB-1) 12
Total: (All out in 46.4 overs) 189
Fall of wickets: 1-56, 2-64, 3-99, 4-100, 5-101, 6-108, 7-127, 8-151, 9-189.
Bowling: Zaheer Khan 6.4-0-20-3, Ashish Nehra 5-1-22-1, Yusuf Pathan 6-1-17-0, Harbhajan Singh 10-0-31-0, Piyush Chawla 10-0-47-2, Yuvraj Singh 9-1-43-2.
Sehwag c Kervezee b Seelaar 39
Tendulkar c Kruger b Seelaar 27
Pathan c & b Seelaar 11
Gambhir b Mudassar Bukhari 28
Kohli b Borren 12
Yuvraj Singh not out 51
MS Dhoni not out 19
Extras: (w 4) 4
Total (5 wickets; 33.3 overs) 172
Fall of wickets: 1-69, 2-80, 3-82, 4-99, 5-139.
Bowling: Mudassar Bukhari 6-1-33-1, RN ten Doeschate 7-0-38-0, PM Seelaar 10-1-53-3, PW Borren 8-0-33-1, TLW Cooper 2-0-11-0, BP Kruger 3.3-0-23-0.