India put up a thoroughly professional performance to overcome the out of sorts Aussies at Mirpur on Sunday evening. It was a complete team effort as both the batsmen and bowlers found their bearings to keep Australia on the mat. The end result – the 73-run victory margin was a clear indication of the wide gulf between the two sides. The match was dead rubber in every sense, as Australia had been knocked out following Pakistan’s easy won over Bangladesh, and India had already qualified for the semi-finals. The teams played true to the nature of the circumstances.
Although there were many good performances from India, the most significant of them all came from Yuvraj Singh. There were big question marks over his failures in the earlier matches, and some pundits actually stated that it is time Yuvraj is dropped from the team, which was a rather unfair. However, MS Dhoni placed his faith in the veteran all-rounder, and the left-handed batsman did not let the team down. Yuvraj brought all his experience into play to take India from a difficult position to one of strength.
It was a blessing in disguise that India lost the toss after a long time. All this while they had been chasing down low scores, and it was crucial that they tried winning the other way round. Their wish was granted as George Bailey inserted them in. For a change, India also found themselves under pressure having lost four wickets cheaply. It again proved to be to India’s advantage as Yuvraj and Dhoni got enough chances to play themselves in. It was a rollicking partnership that brought India back on track and enabled them to express themselves.
Yuvraj was particularly brilliant in that he played himself in and, although he looked in trouble early on, he did not throw his wicket away. Bringing all his experience into play, he turned the strike around when he wasn’t finding his timing. But, once he opened up, there was no stopping him. Yuvraj was still not at his best, but even then he was able to find the boundaries with ease. Some of the fours and sixes he hit were reminiscent of his glory days. India would hope that Yuvraj can carry on in the same vein for the remainder of the series. As for Dhoni, he played a crucial supporting role.
Even though India did not finish with a huge total, their spinners bowled so well that it proved to be more than enough. It is no secret that the kind of bowling attack they have is best suited to the conditions. Ravichandran Ashwin was brilliant for the second game in the row, and like the Bangladeshis, even the Aussies were clueless against him. Amit Mishra continued his impressive run, this time only needing to take care of the lower order. With Yuvraj hitting form, the only question that remains as India head into the semis is whether they bring back Shikhar Dhawan or persist with Ajinkya Rahane.
--By A Cricket Analyst