So you thought Yuvraj Singh was finished? Time to eat your words, then.
Having gone through one of the toughest phases of his career, Singh could not have chosen a better opposition than Australia to return to form ahead of the knockouts. The stylish left-hander hammered a 43-ball 60 and saved India from a batting collapse in the last Super 10s encounter — an inconsequential one — at the World Twenty20. It's a different matter, though, that George Bailey & Co. came nowhere near India's 159/7. It may be hard to fathom, but India haven't lost a game thus far.
Singh's awesome knock followed by a starry performance from R Ashwin, whose four-wicket haul saw India bowl out the Aussies for 86. So dominant were MS Dhoni & Co. that they won by a whopping 73 runs.
Singh, who returned to the team after going through a bad phase in ODIs, had a disappointing start to the tournament. The runs were not coming as he struggled to put bat on ball. His confidence was also low.
He looked unconvincing even in the outfield, dropping two catches in as many games, prompting many to quip that he was over the hill.
However, the 32-year-old did not take it easy and worked hard in the nets. His hard work finally bore fruit when he came up with a gem of a knock on Sunday. It was the perfect platform for Singh to turn into a hero. India were 46/2 with Rohit Sharma (5) and Virat Kohli (23) back in the pavilion. Singh couldn't have squandered this chance. A failure here would have dented his confidence further. It would have even upset the skipper.
Singh started off with a single off a loose ball from leg-spinner James Muirhead. The short ball was pulled to square leg. He looked shaky and survived a couple of close calls, including a mix-up with Ajnikya Rahane who replaced Shikhar Dhawan at the top. Mohit Sharma was the other player who got a chance. He came in place of Mohammed Shami. However, it was Singh's day. He collected just six runs off the first 13 deliveries. He got his first boundary with a sweetly-timed drive over the fielder's head at cover.
However, he hadn't hit top gear yet. He couldn't pull off the upper cut, a shot he successful tried in the nets. A short ball from Doug Bollinger's zoomed past him.
Having spent enough time at the crease, Singh was set for a big haul. Two looseners from Muirhead saw the southpaw smack the ball over mid-wicket and long-off respectively. It was a great sign. Thereon, he was unstoppable. He executed beautiful cover drives, flicks and a successful pull off Shane Watson for a boundary. The same bowler got him later.
Later, Ashwin (4/11) and Amit Mishra (2/13) continued their fine form as Australia came a cropper. Mind you, they are yet to win a game and will meet Bangladesh — also without a win — on Tuesday before packing their bags.
With Singh back in form, India are heavy favourites to win the title.