Australia, the defending champions, had entered the final 16 of the World Cup as one of the favourites. The last time they had failed to make it to the semi-finals of the quadrennial event was in the previous century, and India knew they had to bring out their absolute A game to see off this challenge.
India did well to restrict Australia to 260/6 at the Sardar Vallabhai Patel Stadium in Ahmedabad despite a classy 104 from Ricky Ponting. Yuvraj did his bit with the ball returning impressive figures 2/44 from his ten overs. But it was his effort with the bat that changed the course of the game and in some ways history.
Sachin Tendulkar and Gautam Gambhir scored half-centuries to prop up India's chase but the hosts still found themselves in a bit of bother at 187/5, needing a further 74 runs to win and not a lot of batting left in the shed.
Yuvraj, having already gotten off to a good start made sure he did not lose focus. He found an able ally in Suresh Raina (34*) and the duo took India closer. Both batsmen looked assured at the crease and not once gave the Australians a sniff.
With the noise in the stadium on another level and tension palpable, Yuvraj creamed a Brett Lee half-volley straight past mid-off to send India through to the semi-finals of the World Cup. Yuvraj finished on 57* off 65 balls with eight fours to his name while Raina remained unbeaten on a 28-ball 34.
The five-wicket win not only sealed India's place in the final four for the first time since 2003 but also gave India the confidence to go all the way and lift the trophy.
First Published: April 11, 2019, 8:21 AM IST