Yuvraj takes Irish giant-killers
Yuvraj Singh's all-round performance guided India to a five-wicket victory over Ireland in their World Cup Group B match in Bangalore on Sunday.
Yuvraj scored 50 off 75 balls to back up his best World Cup bowling figures of five for 31, as India overhauled the giant killers' target of 207 for victory in 46 overs.
The left-hander added 67 with Mahendra Singh Dhoni (34), but Ireland gave India some anxious moments throughout by picking up some crucial wickets. Earlier captain William Porterfield scored a workmanlike 75, but lack of contributions elsewhere meant Ireland were bowled out inside 48 overs.
Bowling first after winning the toss, Zaheer Khan gave India a terrific start by dismissing Paul Stirling and Ed Joyce in successive overs.
Porterfield and Niall O'Brien then added 81 in 20 overs, but a piece of brilliance in the field from Virat Kohli saw off O'Brien, who made a patient 46.
The Ireland batsmen were then bamboozled by Yuvraj and crashed to 184 for eight from 122 for three in 26 overs. In fact, Yuvraj took all the five wickets that fell during this period, including Kevin O'Brien, the hero of Ireland's sensational victory over England.
Porterfield departed to a lose shot, but had dug deep for his 75 off 104 balls. Yuvraj dismissed Alex Cusack (24) in his final over and became the first left-arm spinner to pick up five wickets in a World Cup match. Ireland inched past 200 in the 47th over, but Zaheer (three for 30) and Munaf Patel soon polished off the tail with 13 balls remaining
The visitors then gave India a scare by removing Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir early on with just 24 on the board. But Sachin Tendulkar and Kohli eased the nerves by adding 63 in 15 overs, but soon George Dockrell had his big moment when he trapped the 'Little Master' for 38 (46 balls).
India reached 100 in the 24th over, but soon a mix-up with Yuvraj sparked Kohli's dismissal for 34, bringing Dhoni to the middle. Yuvraj and Dhoni added 37 in next 10 overs to keep the chase on track, and denied any opportunity for Ireland to claw back.
India moved past 150 in 37, but had to endure another scare when Dockrell snared Dhoni lbw for a 50-ball 34, but a couple of sixes from big-hitting Pathan brought the equation down to 25 runs off nine overs and it was to be Pathan who scored the winning boundary to remain unbeaten on 30 off 24 balls.