Yuvraj Singh admitted on Monday that he’s thriving in his role as India’s World Cup terminator having made history with his five-wicket haul and half-century against Ireland.
India were struggling at 100-4, chasing a modest 208-run target in the day-night match in Bangalore on Sunday, before Yuvraj steered his side home with an unbeaten 50 under pressure.
The left-hander also excelled as a part-time spinner, taking 5-31 for a maiden five-wicket haul in one-day internationals, the first player to achieve the double feat.
He was named man of the match for his superb all-round performance.
“Finishing a game gives me a lot of confidence going into the next match. I’m just happy about how I am hitting the ball. My responsibility is to bat till the end whether we are batting first or chasing a target,” said Yuvraj.
“I missed quite a bit of cricket over a year and a half due to injuries and now to come back and play my part in victories is very satisfying.
“Maybe I don’t have my 100 per cent strike-rate right now, but more than that I am helping to finish matches and that is important. Overall, it was a very good day for me.”
Yuvraj said India needed a batsman to stay till the end after Irish paceman Trent Johnston and left-arm spinner George Dockrell had taken two wickets apiece to put his side under pressure.
“The pitch was slower than the one used for the last game and as we were under pressure at 100-4, it was important that somebody batted till the end,” said Yuvraj, who also scored a half-century in a tied game against England.
He was also instrumental in restricting Ireland after the visitors were strongly placed at 122-2 following a 113-run stand between skipper William Porterfield (75) and Niall O’Brien (46).
Yuvraj, who has scored 7,797 runs and taken 99 wickets in 268 one-day internationals, said he was happy with his five-wicket performance.
“I am a part-time bowler and when I got those five wickets I was as happy as I was when I scored my first one-day international hundred. I think it’s an achievement for a part-timer to get five wickets,” he said.
“I won’t say bowling has helped me regain confidence. Whether I take wickets or don’t take wickets, I want to go and get runs. Just because I got five wickets it does not mean I have overshadowed other bowlers.”
The victory also boosted India’s chances of making it to the quarter-finals as they remain unbeaten in Group B, having defeated Bangladesh and Ireland, and tied their match against England.
But Yuvraj said India were capable of lifting their performance more in the coming matches.
“There is always room for improvement, like taking early wickets and fielding better. But the main thing is that in every situation every member of the team is doing well and that’s a good sign,” he said.
India meet the Netherlands, South Africa and the West Indies in their remaining matches. The top four sides from the group qualify for the quarter-finals.