After failing to score big in the run—up to the World Cup summit clash against Sri Lanka here, Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni resembled a “bomb about to explode” ahead of the final, teammate and Man of the Tournament Yuvraj Singh said.
“He (Dhoni) was not getting big scores in the tournament, but he kept working hard, and did not miss a single practice session. Watching him in the nets gave one the impression that he was a ‘bomb about to explode’,” Yuvraj wrote in the Cricket Board’s latest quarterly newsletter dedicated to India’s World Cup triumph.
“Looking back, I am glad he ‘exploded’ in the final, and not earlier! He went in ahead of me in that game, but that was purely to keep the left—right combination going in the middle.
He had a point to prove and he played an innings of a lifetime,” the left—handed big—hitter said.
Dhoni went in ahead of man—in—form Yuvraj when the final was on a knife—edge at the Wankhede Stadium with India at 114 for 3 in the 22nd over chasing a target of 275.
The Indian skipper, in the company of left—handed opener Gautam Gambhir (96) first and then Yuvraj (21 not out), smashed an unconquered 91 off only 79 balls with eight fours and two sixes — including the winning hit off Nuwan Kulasekara — to power India to victory.
Yuvraj wrote in the article that the Ranchi—born captain takes to “pressure like a fish to water” and that he was lucky to “have the best view of the captain’s winning hit”.
Yuvraj, who excelled with both the bat (362 runs from nine games) and ball (15 wickets) recalled that the defeat to South Africa in the league stage at Nagpur was the turning point of the Indian team’s triumphant run which fetched the country its World Cup title after 28 years.
“The defeat against South Africa was the turning point of our campaign. Our batting and fielding was disappointing in that game, and we worked hard on both areas over the next few days. A top priority was to build partnerships in the middle,” he wrote.
India were all out for 296 in the match against the Proteas on March 12 at Nagpur, and then their bowlers and fielders allowed the South Africans reply with 300 for 7 and win with two balls to spare.
About his left—arm bowling, Yuvraj said that he tried to keep it simple and was rewarded.
“I had to do a lot of bowling, being the only left arm spinner in the side, and it was something I enjoyed immensely.
I tried to keep it simple and straight, and had some good spells, the best of the lot being the five—wicket haul (5 for 31 at Bangalore) against Ireland,” he said.
Recalling the great Indian run to the title, Dhoni wrote that the victory over three—time defending champions Australia at Ahmedabad’s Motera Stadium was the turn—around for his team.
“D—day was 24 March, when we took on the defending champions in the quarter—final at Ahmedabad. We restricted the Aussies to a gettable score, and then our batsmen did a professional job,” he wrote.
Keywords: Yuvraj Singh