Yuvraj stars as India fight off Irish

Bengaluru, India – Yuvraj Singh turned in a brilliant all-round performance to help India register a hard-earned five-wicket win over Ireland at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium on Sunday.

In a Group B game, Ireland was asked to bat first and worked hard to reach 207 off 47.5 overs. In reply, the Indians also had to work hard and reached 210-5 off 46 overs, to win with 24 balls to spare.

The impressive Yuvraj took five wickets for 31 runs with his left-arm spin after being introduced last into the attack. He returned with the bat and made a disciplined 50 not out to see the home side to a much-needed win.

In the first half of the match, Ireland were rocked early by Zaheer Khan’s opening burst. He ended with 3-30. But skipper William Porterfield with 75 off 104 balls with six fours and a six, along with Niall O'Brien (46) shared a crucial third-wicket stand of 113 runs to revive the innings. Thereafter Yuvraj’s left-arm spin ran through the middle and lower-order as Ireland finished at 207. He took the keep wicket of Kevin O’Brien, who was smartly caught and bowled for nine.

“I am definitely very happy with my bowling. First five-wicket haul and I am happy that I could finish off the game. Ireland played well and put us under pressure. They fielded exceptionally,” Man-of-the-Match Yuvraj said with a wide grin.

Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni agreed: “Frankly speaking, the scoreboard said 208-odd runs but it was close to 240 because the Ireland side fielded really well and their bowlers were very well backed up by the fielders.”

In the chase, India lost two early wickets to Trent Johnston. But a crucial 61-run stand between Sachin Tendulkar (38) and Virat Kohli (34) revived the innings.

Thereafter, Yuvraj Singh took over and in partnership with skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni added 67 runs. In the end Yusuf Pathan played a blazing cameo of 30 off 24 balls with two boundaries and three sixes to script the win which was a lot more difficult than many anticipated.

The most impressive Irish bowlers were their young spinners. The 20-year-old Paul Stirling finished with none for 45 and the 18-year-old off-spinner George Dockrell finished with 2-49 – the big wickets of Tendulkar and Dhoni.

Mon, 03/07/2011 - 06:32