Coming into the World Cup, Yuvraj Singh wasn't exactly in top form: in 19 innings since the beginning of 2010, he'd averaged 27.50 at a strike rate of 69.73, with only one innings of more than 60. His first innings in this World Cup, though, was a superbly fluent unbeaten 58 off 50 against England, and that seems to have put him perfectly in groove. That knock was followed by two unbeaten fifties, and his century against West Indies means he has scored 284 runs in the tournament at an average of 94.67 and a strike rate of 86.06. Add his nine wickets to the mix, and Yuvraj has been the perfect answer to India's call for an allrounder. Another 16 runs and one wicket will make him only the fourth player in World Cup history to achieve the double of 300 runs and ten wickets in a tournament: Kapil Dev (1983), Neil Johnson (1999) and Sanath Jayasuriya (2003) are the only ones to have achieved it so far.
In this innings, the highlight was the way he shifted gears effortlessly in the second half of his innings. His first scoring shot only came off his eighth ball, but it was a confident pull for four, and it set the tone for the rest of his innings. Off the first 50 deliveries he faced, he scored only 37, but off the next 73, he scored 76.
His outstanding run in this tournament means Yuvraj's overall World Cup average has touched 50, which is well above his career average of 37.43 - in 18 World Cup innings he has scored eight fifties and a hundred. Among those who've scored 600 runs in World Cups, only three India batsmen have a higher average. This was also Yuvraj's fourth 50-plus score in this World Cup, which puts him in an elite category: among Indian batsmen, only two have done better.
For West Indies, it all went wrong after the 27th over of their run-chase. Till then, they were nine runs ahead of India's score at the same stage, with two batsmen well set and seemingly toying with the Indian attack. All that changed with Harbhajan Singh's maiden in the 28th, after which they lost a clutch of wickets. By the end of the 37th over, West Indies had fallen 30 runs behind India's score, and with seven batsmen back in the hutch, the game was over. Whereas India scored 58 for 1 between overs 28 and 37, West Indies stuttered to 19 for 5, a fall from which there were no comebacks.
That was also the period when Ramnaresh Sarwan, who had looked fluent for the first part of his innings, suddenly went into his shell. He'd scored 23 from his first 31 balls, playing only 16 dot balls, but off the next 31 he scored only nine and played out 22 dots, including the maiden over from Harbhajan. It didn't help, of course, that so many wickets went down at the other end.
The one big positive for West Indies was the form of Ravi Rampaul. His recent form justified his omission from the team so far: in his last 12 ODIs against the top teams, he had averaged almost 40 runs per wicket at nearly a run a ball. In these 12 games, he had gone at six an over or more seven times. Like Yuvraj, though, Rampaul shrugged off poor form with his best figures in one-day internationals, and his maiden five-for. It was also the sixth five-for by a West Indies player in a World Cup, but only the third against one of the top teams, after Winston Davis' 7 for 51 against Australia in 1983, and Joel Garner's 5 for 38 against England in 1979.