Yuvraj, Ashwin star in big India win vs Australia
MIRPUR, Bangladesh (AP) — Yuvraj Singh played a fluent knock of 60 and off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin returned a fine haul of 4-11 as India drubbed Australia by 73 runs at the World Twenty20 to finish unbeaten in Group 2.
Yuvraj resurrected India from a precarious 66-4 in the 12th over and helped post a total of 159-7. Australia then failed to come to terms with the Ashwin-led spin attack and folded for 86 in what was its third consecutive defeat in the five-team league.
India, batting first for the first time in the tournament after three successful chases had already ensured a semifinal berth for the 2007 champion, put up a fighting score despite taking 14.5 overs to reach the 100-run mark.
If India put up an inspired display to top the group, Australia seemed to lack incentive with the knowledge that the last league game between Pakistan and the West Indies will decide the second qualifier from the group.
India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni had indicated at the toss that he would have preferred to bat anyway and the team would draw confidence from the determined batting display under pressure with Yuvraj striking form in time for the knockouts.
Yuvraj, making it back to the national squad after being ignored for recent one-day internationals and struggling to hold his place in this team, thrived in a difficult situation.
He added 84 for the fifth wicket with Dhoni (24), striking five fours and four sixes during his eighth T20 international half-century.
Yuvraj, who batted himself in before going for his shots, got to his fifty in style. He struck a big six to square-leg off Shane Watson as the pace bowler went for 15 runs in the 18th over of the innings.
“We all know the kind of player Yuvi (Yuvraj) is and I feel he did a good job getting back into form,” Dhoni said. “He decided to give himself time to play because he knew he could always score in the end.”
In-form batsman Virat Kohli chipped in with 23 even as all six Australian bowlers bagged a wicket each.
Australia’s chase slid off track as Ashwin continued with the immaculate line that had seen him bag the man of the match award in India’s last game against Bangladesh with 2-15.
Introduced in the fourth over, Ashwin not only removed openers Aaron Finch (6) and David Warner (19) but also dismissed the dangerous Glenn Maxwell (23), who went for a reverse-sweep but lost his balance and was bowled.
Australia was 55-5 in the 10th over when Maxwell fell and the remaining batsmen went for their shots too early and capitulated in a hurry.
“This is the most disappointing performance by our team in three years of my captaincy,” Australia captain George Bailey said. “We lacked the game sense and we batted badly though our bowling was good today.”
Australia, which has won four World Cups but never the World Twenty20, plays its last game against Bangladesh on Tuesday.