ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / Features

22nd Match: India v Ireland

Allround Yuvraj takes India to victory

ESPNcricinfo staff

March 6, 2011

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Yuvraj Singh celebrates his five-wicket haul with MS Dhoni, India v Ireland, Group B, World Cup 2011, Bangalore, March 6, 2011
Yuvraj starred with bat and ball to charge India to a win over Ireland © AFP
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Yuvraj Singh saved the blushes for India, allowing them to hide the ordinary effort from other spinners, by picking his maiden five-for to restrict Ireland to 207 before he hit an unbeaten fifty to settle India's nerves in a hard-fought win in Bangalore.

As ever, Yuvraj ambled in like a Sunday-park bowler and as always proved to be street-smart. His art is very simple: he turns the ball slightly but his USP is the variation in pace, using a scrambled seam. He is usually slow and slower but surprises the batsmen with a quicker one. Today, too, he struck to his regular staple diet of slower ones; some were delivered with a round arm, some from higher straighter arm, and some with a crouched bent-knee release to get the ball to skid on.

If you just catch the highlights of his wickets, most would seem like soft dismissals. To an extent they were, but that's the illusion of nothingness he provides the batsmen, who then make seemingly silly mistakes. Andrew White was sucked into edging a flighted delivery to slip, Kevin O'Brien tapped one softly back, Porterfield swatted a short ball straight to cover and John Mooney and Alex Cusack were trapped by skidders that came in with the arm. When White fell in the 30th over, Ireland were 129 for 4 and by the time Yuvraj got Cusack, Ireland had slid to 184 in the 44th over.

Yuvraj wasn't done for the night, yet. India were wobbling a touch on 87 for 3 at the fall of Sachin Tendulkar when Yuvraj entered the scene to settle the nerves. He played risk-free cricket to ensure India moved slowly, but steadily, towards the finishing line


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