The 2011 World Cup that was hosted in India turned out to be one that became a career-defining moment for every Indian player involved in the tournament. The tournament however will be remembered for Yuvraj Singh’s performances. Yuvraj was on song during the tournament and was declared the player of the tournament due to his all-round performances, the best example of which was the quarter-final match against Australia on March 24, 2011.
Australia had set up a target of 261 for India to chase in Ahmedabad largely thanks to a masterful 104 from captain Ricky Ponting. The Australians were looking set for a big total during a 70-run second-wicket stand between Ponting and wicketkeeper Brad Haddin which was eventually broken by Yuvraj. He then got the big wicket of Michael Clarke which helped India take control of the innings.
However, India could not get going in their chase. Sachin Tendulkar and Gautam Gambhir got half centuries while Virender Sehwag and a young Virat Kohli failed to fire. Kohli’s dismissal led to Yuvraj walking in with India 143/3 in just over 28 overs. He started his innings with a four off David Hussey, but Australia pulled it back with Hussey, Jason Krejza and Mitchell Johnson not allowing Gambhir and Yuvraj to get runs at a quick pace.
The pressure did the trick as Gambhir was run out after going for an utterly impossible single. Brett Lee then got captain Dhoni out for just seven runs and India found themselves tottering at 187/5 in the 38th over.
But that was all there was for the Australians to cheer about as Suresh Raina played an able partner to Yuvraj who took the attack to the opposition. The match ended with Yuvraj hitting the winning runs — a four off Lee in the 48th over.
India had ended Ponting’s dream of being the only captain to lead a team to three World Cup wins along with Australia’s reign in the tournament. Yuvraj was unbeaten on 57 off 65 balls and had taken figures of 2/44.