‘King’ Kohli continues to reign supreme
Virat Kohli smashed a second successive half-century as India thrashed the Netherlands by 56 runs in a "near-perfect" performance on Thursday to put themselves in a strong position at the Twenty20 World Cup.
The Indians headed into the match on the back of their thrilling last-ball triumph over Pakistan in Melbourne at the weekend, where Kohli also starred with the bat.
They brought some of that energy to a boisterous Sydney Cricket Ground to plunder 179-2 before holding the spirited Dutch to 123-9 in front of 36,000 fans.
Kohli (62 not out off 44 balls) and skipper Rohit Sharma (53 off 39) were both in fine touch, sharing in a 73-run stand.
After winning the toss and choosing to bat in the first-ever T20 between the two teams, Indian opener KL Rahul again failed to fire, that brought superstar Kohli to the crease -- cue huge roars from the drum-beating, flag-waving crowd.
Kohli and Rohit clobbered some top-class boundaries.
Rohit brought up his 29th T20 half-century in his 144th game, cracking four sixes along the way, before he was out looking for another, taken by Colin Ackermann near the ropes off Fred Klaassen.
Kohli reached his second successive 50 and 35th in his T20 career with a single as the pair steered India to a strong total, with a six off the last ball putting gloss on the innings.
Suryakumar Yadav, arguably the world's best T20 batsman on current form, was also in the runs, lashing 51 from 25 balls as India crunched 112 from the last 10 overs.
"The message was loud and clear when I went into bat, we had to get about 8-10 an over and get a total that our bowlers could defend easily and I'm very happy with the way things went," said Suryakumar, who shared a partnership of 95 with Kohli.
"I'm really enjoying batting with (Kohli), I think the thoughts are very clear when we are playing together."
"I thought it was a clinical win. When you're expected to win, the pressure is a lot more. This was a near-perfect game for us," said Rohit.
"Yes, we played a little slow at the start, but that was the conversation between me and Virat, we had to wait on that surface to play the big shots.
"Not too happy with my fifty, but what's important is getting runs -- doesn't matter if they are good-looking runs or ugly runs."
India came to the World Cup in ominous form, winning back-to-back series against Australia and South Africa at home as they target their first global silverware since the 2013 Champions Trophy.
Thursday's dominant win elevated them to the top of Group 2 on four points, ahead of South Africa on three, after the Proteas demolished Bangladesh earlier in the day. The Dutch remain anchored at the bottom after two losses from two.
Two of the six teams in the group will make the semi-finals.