Yuvraj powers India to dream semis

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Yuvraj powers India to dream semis

Australia shed sweat and even blood in a desperate bid to prolong their 12-year reign as world champions but Yuvraj Singh’s Midas touch sustained India’s dreams in see-saw quarter-final.

By (Reuters)

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Published: Fri 25 Mar 2011, 8:29 AM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 7:28 AM

The 29-year-old southpaw claimed 2-44 and returned to smash an unbeaten 57 to script India’s five-wicket victory that set up a blockbuster World Cup semi-final against arch-rivals Pakistan on Wednesday.

He collected his fourth man-of-the-match trophy in the tournament and the left-hander reckoned he probably is going through the best phase of his career.

“I think so,” Yuvraj told a news conference after receiving a standing ovation from the assembled media.

“Earlier, whatever I was touching was turning into mud. Definitely things have changed,” he said, referring to his bad patch prior to the tournament.

Yuvraj said he was playing the tournament for a “special person”.

“That I will tell you if we reach the final,” he said, refusing to reveal the identity of the mystery person.

Ricky Ponting’s 30th one-day international century in what was probably his last World Cup match powered the four-times champions to 260-6 and India initially produced a fumbling response despite half-centuries from Sachin Tendulkar (53) and Gautam Gambhir (50).

Brett Lee’s dive to save a boundary that left him with a nasty cut near his eyebrow and a bloodied cheek symbolised Australia’s desperation but Yuvraj’s unbeaten 74-run partnership with Suresh Raina ended a glorious Australian era.

Ponting, however, disagreed.

“I don’t think so. I think it’s premature to say that it was an era in cricket. It was a brilliant game tonight... against a very good Indian side on their home soil,” he said.

“We are still a very competitive side... we are probably a better game than we showed in the last two games.”

Around 48,000 crowd that included India’s richest man Mukesh Ambani had thronged the Sardar Patel Stadium to see Tendulkar score his 100th international century.

Instead, they witnessed the resurgence of a beleaguered Australian skipper who spent considerable time during his team’s build-up to the match denying retirement rumours and ignoring demands for his removal.

Ponting added 70 runs with Brad Haddin (53) and 55 with David Hussey (38 not out) to defy the seven bowlers India used, including Tendulkar who last rolled his bowling arm back in 2009 against the same opponents.

India’s reply got off to a strong start but Virender Sehwag fluffed his pull shot and Tendulkar reached one milestone — of 18,000 ODI runs — but fell short of another.

Gambhir (50) grafted his way to his 24th ODI fifty before running himself out and India looked in dire straits after Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s exit in the 38th over but Yuvraj batted till the end to see them through.

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