Post 1983 Indian cricket team qualified for the top-four twice in 1987 and 1996. They made it to final in 2003 and were expected to lift the title. Although the opponents in 2003 final were the best Australian side and practically it was an unequal fight. But Indians dreamt for the trophy. They wanted it so badly that some of them cannot overcome the pain. In 2011 Bangladesh, India, and Sri Lanka were hosting the tournament. Indian team led by MS Dhoni was one of the favorites. After 28 years it looked it India had a convincing opportunity of winning their second World Cup. And the rest is history!
In 2011 Indian cricket saw a sole fighter doing everything single handedly to make the dreams come true after 28 years. Yuvraj Singh, a name that can be well related to the transformation of Indian cricket. Yuvraj Singh was a balancing factor in MS Dhoni’s World Cup team in 2011. He along with Zaheer Khan and Dhoni were the bridge between senior like Sachin Tendulkar and youngsters like Virat Kohli. His stay in the middle order ensured Indian team of an escalating slog, well calculated defend if needed, a guard to the tail. Moreover, his part time bowling worked effectively for India in all the matches.
He scored a hat-trick of half-centuries against England, Ireland, and the Netherlands and started the campaign with a bang. He also had a five-wicket haul against Ireland. His century came against West Indies along with two more wickets and Man-of-the-Match award. He proved his worth again with a cameo of 65-ball 57 against Australia and scalped Brad Haddin and Michael Clarke in the quarter-final against Australia to take his team to the top four. He failed in the semi-final against Pakistan with the bat but delivered with the ball. He took two major wickets when Pakistan were on 103 and 106 during the chase.
India had no option of going wrong in the finale against Sri Lanka. Yuvraj yet against scalped two important wickets including Kumar Sangakkara and helped India to restrict Sri Lanka for 274/6. With 223/4 on board and MS Dhoni at one end, India needed someone to stay till the end without losing wickets; some who had the ability to have a hold on the asking rate. Yuvraj played a brilliant cameo of 21 off 24 and saw Dhoni hitting six to win the Cup for India from the non-striker end.
His dream run ended with 362 runs including one century and four fifties from nine matches. He became the first all-rounder to score 300 plus run and 15 wickets in a single World Cup. Little did anyone know what he was carrying inside throughout the tournament!