Yuvraj’s confidence tipped the scales in India’s favour
In the end, being bold is the best policy and, when it mattered the most, the in-form Yuvraj Singh was brave enough to push India to victory, writes Ian Chappell.
In the end, being bold is the best policy and, when it mattered the most, the in-form Yuvraj Singh was brave enough to push India to victory.
At a time when the Indians were running between wickets like a hen whose head had been chopped off and appeared hell-bent on gifting the game to Australia, Yuvraj belted a few much-needed boundaries.
His fine innings came close on the heels of Mahendra Singh Dhoni's dismissal and not only did it quickly reduce the target, it also sent out a strong signal to Australia that, "We're not going to surrender meekly".
This was an important counter-attack from Yuvraj and the Australian bowlers faltered after the onslaught. His boundary blast also eased the pressure on Suresh Raina. In the space of a few balls, Yuvraj had taken India from a visibly wobbly situation to the World Cup semifinal against archrivals Pakistan.
A highly competitive quarterfinal was on the knife's edge and Yuvraj's confidence tipped the scales.
Thanks to Ricky Ponting's brave performance, who crafted a century in hostile conditions, the match reached a thrilling climax.
The Aussie skipper is not a cricketer who worries about effect; he's only interested in the cause. The cause, as always, with Ponting is to win. In the end, his team wasn't able to defend a respectable total that owed much to the captain's skill and determination.
Unlike Dhoni, who sought wickets at every turn in the Australian innings, Ponting was hesitant to attack at crucial junctures.
This resulted in a missed opportunity to claim Sachin Tendulkar early off the bowling of Shane Watson.
Had Ponting's captaincy matched the bravery of his batting on Thursday, Australia would be heading to Mohali rather than home.
Dhoni's captaincy far surpassed his playing contribution. His calmness and willingness to regularly seek wickets shouldn't be underestimated in India's victory and it will serve the team well in the semifinal against Pakistan. R Ashwin's inclusion into the attack made a huge difference and, against a team like Australia, that was crucial.
In the past, Australia have won tight contests on self-belief and skill. On this occasion, it was India who prevailed and for that they have Yuvraj and his timely counter-attack to thank.