|Sachin Tendulkar become the first player to complete 2,000 runs in the World Cup tournament [AFP]
India pulled off a five-wicket victory over the Netherlands to move closer to a place in the Cricket World Cup quarter-finals on Wednesday.
Yuvraj Singh scored a match-winning 51 not out as India, chasing a total of 190, were reeling at 99-4 after a three-wicket burst by left-arm spinner Pieter Seelaar before a packed Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium.
Yuvraj’s knock saved the tournament favourites, guiding the home nation to 191-5 for an ultimately comfortable win after the Dutch had given India a scare.
The near-capacity crowd expected a brutal onslaught when Sachin Tendulkar (27) and Virender Sehwag (39) came out to chase down the 190-run victory target against a Dutch team seeking their first win in the tournament.
The 69 runs they plundered in seven-odd overs suggested the chase was following the script when unheralded Seelar struck three body blows to lay bare the unsuspected vulnerability of the Indian top and middle order.
The 23-year-old spinner removed Sehwag, Tendulkar - who completed 2,000 World Cup runs - and Yusuf Pathan in quick succession to turn the heat on the hosts.
Dutch skipper Peter Borren also slipped one through Virat Kohli's porous defence and at 99-4, India's unbeaten streak seemed in jeopardy.
E Szwarczynski b Chawla 28
W Barresi lbw b Yuvraj 26
T Cooper c Dhoni b Nehra 29
R T Doeschate c Zaheer b Yuvraj 11
A Kervezee c Harbhajan b Chawla 11
B Zuiderent lbw b Khan 0
T de Grooth run out 5
P Borren c Nehra b Zaheer 38
B Kruger run out 8
M Bukhari b Zaheer 21
P Seelaar not out 0
Total: (all out, 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 10-189
V Sehwag c Kervezee b Seelaar 39
S Tendulkar c Kruger b Seelaar 27
Y Pathan c & b Seelaar 11
G Gambhir b Mudassar Bukhari 28
V Kohli b Borren 12
Y Singh not out 51
MS Dhoni not out 19
Extras: (w-4) 4
Total: (five wickets, 36.3 overs) 191
Fall of wickets: 1-69 2-80 3-82 4-99 5-139
Fortunately for them, Yuvraj Singh seems to have taken the onus on himself to fill the gaps in the Indian side.
With the ball, Yuvraj (2-43) once against glossed over the failure of frontline spinners Harbhajan Singh and Piyush Chawla and when the chase was about to derail, he wielded his bat for a cultured unbeaten 51 to steer them home in 36.3 overs.
The win maintained India's near-perfect run in the tournament and virtually assured them of a place in the quarter-finals with two more league matches to go.
The Indians are now on top of Group B with seven points following three wins and a tie.
Netherlands are in danger of ending up with the wooden spoon, going down to their fourth defeat in a row.
"It's not a bad win,'' India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni said.
"There was a bit of pressure on us in the middle overs with four wickets down. You can say it was an area of concern but I think overall it is a good experience to have.
"Everybody has had a fair amount of exposure in the World Cup campaign.''
The Indian bowlers did a decent job but the abrupt mid-innings collapse convinced Dutch skipper Borren that his team had a realistic chance in the match.
"It's been a rollercoaster ride today,'' Borren said.
"It went up and down, up and down and in the end I'm really proud of the guys and the effort we made at defending what wasn't a great score against a fantastic batting line-up.
"We had a chance to win when India were 99-4. It only takes a couple of good moments of cricket there and you're right on top. I think we played some brave cricket.''