Yuvraj steers India clear
"For the first time in my life there have been claps in a press conference," Yuvraj Singh said.
He had just dealt the final blow that dumped Australia, the defending champions, out and fast-tracked India's chances of World Cup glory.
In the first innings, Yuvraj's left-arm sliders strangled the batsmen at one end, even as Ricky Ponting soldiered on at the other. Still, 261 in a knockout match was a handy target, as the Indian middle order found out. It had buckled under aggression from the Australian bowlers, leaving 74 to get in the last 12 overs.
There was no undue urgency from Yuvraj, but the intent was obvious throughout his unbeaten 65-ball 57. Singles began trickling, the pressure began to ease, and the dressing room began hoping again. As long as he was in, Australia looked beatable.
Yuvraj transformed a Brett Lee yorker into a boundary ball, deposited a bewildered Shaun Tait on the midwicket boundary, and hit the winning runs, taking a fourth Man of the Match award in the tournament. He had come into the World Cup on the back of poor form, but against West Indies he broke a run of two years without a century before coming back to pick up a couple of wickets as well to help India into the quarter-final.
Once there, he would not be denied. "This is the moment I have lived for as a cricketer," Yuvraj said. Later it would be revealed how much when doctors diagnosed he had played the tournament while battling cancer.