This Day That Year: ‘Beware the Ides of March’ - Yuvraj Singh’s double act stops Aussie juggernaut
‘Beware the Ides of March,’ this famous line from the play Julius Caesar, by the literary behemoth William Shakespeare, has since become synonymous with a sense of warning. It assumes importance in the play, and historically, as Caesar is eventually assassinated on that date, which loosely corresponds to March 15. The end of Julius Caesar’s rule was in many ways the end of an epoch.
Similar warning bells rang for the great Australian team of the first decade of the 2000s, when they faced an in form Indian team in the quarter-finals of the ICC World Cup in Ahmedabad on March 24, 2011. Ricky Ponting, the Australian captain, was looking to become the first captain in history to win the World Cup thrice. He had already been part of three victorious campaigns in 1999, 2003 and 2007, skippering the team in the last two.
Victory over the hosts, led by the maverick MS Dhoni, would all but open the doors for yet another triumph. And the ‘Punter’ took matters in his own hands. Leading from the front on a tricky two-paced wicket, Ponting slammed 104 in 118 deliveries to guide Australia to a competitive 260/6 in fifty overs. Yuvraj Singh’s slow left arm spin accounted for the crucial wickets of Brad Haddin and Michael Clarke, in teb economical overs.
The chase was never going to be easy as this was the typical pressure cooker situation.Virender Sehwag departed early but half centuries from Sachin Tendulkar (53) and Gautam Gambhir (50) provided a solid platform. Virat Kohli contributed with a handy 24 but the crucial partnership was between the southpaws Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina. After captain Dhoni was dismissed cheaply, the duo put on an unbeaten 74-run stand to eventually take the hosts to victory with more than two overs to spare. Yuvraj stayed unbeaten on 57 and his celebration at the end of the match was symbolic of the relief India achieved on beating the Aussies, who had been practically unbeatable in the showpiece event.
India would go on to win the ICC World Cup, their second global title in the 50 overs format by defeating Sri Lanka in the final.