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The winners: Twenty20

Cricinfo staff

January 30, 2008

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Singh when you're winning: Yuvraj rolls the highlights reel against Australia © Getty Images
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Best Twenty20 Batting Performance


Yuvraj Singh: 70 off 30 balls v Australia
World Twenty20, Durban
Scorecard
India's young side had made a slow start against Australia in the World Twenty20 semi-final, losing their second wicket on 41 at the end of the eighth over. Even in 50-over cricket such a start would qualify as not more than reasonable, but it soon became clear that India were playing to a plan: see off the early overs without losing too many wickets, and have plenty of batsmen in hand for later.

All that planning needed good execution, though, and India found their man for the moment in Yuvraj, yet again, well rested after clobbering Stuart Broad for six sixes a few days earlier. He had been in the zone against England, and the forced one-match break due to tendonitis did nothing to disrupt his rhythm. He started with a swivelled pulled six over midwicket off the second ball he faced, from Stuart Clark, the best bowler in the tournament.

From there, he simply flowed. Adam Gilchrist brought back Brett Lee, but Yuvraj responded with a sensational pick-up shot over square leg for six, taking India to 60 for 2 at the halfway stage, marginally better than the 57 for 3 they had at the same stage in their previous game, against South Africa.

Andrew Symonds came on and was flicked for four and pulled for six in a 19-run over. Neither Nathan Bracken's slower variations nor Clark's steadiness could stem the tide, as Yuvraj played sumptuous shots over cover.

Another massive pull for six off Clark took him to 50 from just 20 balls, in an over that went for 21. The return of Mitchell Johnson proved just as expensive, with Robin Uthappa (with whom Yuvraj added 84 in 6.3 overs) slamming a straight six and then powering another over midwicket.

Yuvraj's shots were struck with so much grace and skill, and so little effort, that it is difficult to pick the best one. His entire innings was a highlights reel, and the way he dismantled Clark was breathtaking. When asked about his arm after the match, Yuvraj extended it completely - there was still a strap around his elbow - grinned, and said, "It's fine. There's no problem." The shots earlier had indicated as much.



Morkel misses, RP hits © AFP
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Best Twenty20 Bowling Performance


RP Singh: 4 for 13 v South Africa
World Twenty20, Durban
Scorecard
It was supposed to be a tournament tailormade for batsmen, but RP Singh's success was just another shining example of how well medium-pacers did in the inaugural World Twenty20. In the final group match, India began their defence of 153 against South Africa in a must-win scenario dismally, with Sreesanth conceding 11 runs off the first over.

RP Singh, however, was sensational and provided India the much-needed cutting edge against a formidable South African batting line-up. He made the perfect start, trapping Herschelle Gibbs leg-before with a gem of an inswinger, and two balls later induced an edge from Graeme Smith that was taken splendidly by Dinesh Karthik at slip.

In his third over, one ball after Justin Kemp was run out, Singh produced a vicious yorker - arguably the ball of the tournament - that swung into Shaun Pollock's leg stump, leaving South Africa in tatters at 31 for 5.

With their hopes of winning fading fast, South Africa's chances of making the semi-finals depended on whether they could reach 126 to qualify on net run-rate. Singh put paid to those as well by bowling Albie Morkel for 36 in the penultimate over to finish with 4 for 13.

Singh's performance, especially his ability to move the ball both ways and get disconcerting bounce, showed once again just how much he had developed over a period of about six months. Four for 13 in four overs represents outstanding returns, and the figures didn't flatter the way he bowled.

After the match he said the wicket at Kingsmead assisted fast bowlers and inspired him to go out and have a crack at the South African batsmen.

He was inspired, that's for sure, and he continued his success in the semi-final against Australia and superbly in the final against Pakistan as well, snapping up 3 for 26.

For a list of the Twenty20 batting nominees, click here
For a list of the Twenty20 bowling nominees, click here

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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