Yuvraj Singh combined luck, pluck and self-restraint to conjure a special all-round show and set up India’s World Cup victory over the West Indies on Sunday.
The 29-year-old, one of the cleanest strikers of the ball, struck an uncharacteristically composed 113 and returned to claim two wickets with his left-arm spin to set up the 80-run victory.
Darren Sammy did his bit to help India’s cause.
The West Indies skipper first dropped Yuvraj when the batsman was on 9 at backward point off Andre Russell and again in the next over, this time off his own bowling.
“We had a chance to get him out, but I was the culprit to drop him at backward point,” Sammy told reporters in a confession of guilt.
Yuvraj showed courage as well.
On two occasions, the batsman was down on his knees in what seemed to be a signal of his struggle to cope with the heat and humidity on the field.
Yuvraj later clarified he was battling stomach cramps.
“I was not dehydrated actually. I had a stomach cramp. I had this issue since morning. A couple of the guys have been having these stomach issues. Just a stomach bug,” he said.
“I wanted to bat till the end and somehow I managed that,” Yuvraj said.
It also took a lot of self-restraint to get his first one-day international century in two years.
“I was anxious to get a century. This was an opportunity batting at four. At five [his usual position], you don’t get so many balls. I wanted to bat till the end today,” he said. “I did not hit the ball in the air, hit everything down the ground. All because I wanted to get a hundred. It’s been a while.”
Yuvraj’s performance earned India their first win over a top-flight team in the tournament before they take on Australia in Thursday’s quarter-final in Ahmedabad.
West Indies may be low on confidence when they meet Pakistan in tomorrow’s quarter-final after the slipshod show against India, where none of their batsmen, barring Devon Smith (81), showed the stomach for a fight.
They looked pretty much in the hunt as long as Smith was there, but their tendency to collapse inexplicably caught up with them and they lost their last eight wickets for just 34 runs to fold for a meager 188 in 43 overs.
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