Chennai, March 20 (IANS) By scoring his first ODI century in nearly two years here on Sunday, he virtually got rid of the monkey off his back and was pleased to hit top form at the right moment, said Yuvraj Singh following his maiden cricket World Cup hundred in Indias Group B game against the West Indies.Coincidentally, Yuvraj’s previous century (131) was also against the West Indies at Kingston, Jamaica, in June 2009.
“I wanted to get to the century and it was an ideal opportunity,” said Yuvraj, who was adjudged Man of the Match as India beat the West Indies by 80 runs en route to the quarterfinals.
“Coming in at No.4, you tend to get more balls to play than at No.5. Today, I wanted to stay till the end and was determined not to hit in the air, but only along the ground.
“Yes, it has been a while (since scoring an ODI century). I am happy I am peaking at the right time. I have been through some tough times because of injury and bad form,” said Yuvraj during the post-match media conference.
Yuvraj has been in top form in the ongoing World Cup, having made three half-centuries in four innings before Sunday’s game.
“I have worked hard at my game and that is showing now,” said Yuvraj who suffered from “stomach cramps” in the course of his century on Sunday.
“It wasn’t dehydration, but stomach cramps that I have been having since morning, but I was determined to stay on till the end,” he said.
On the match itself, Yuvraj felt that although the West Indies were chasing well at the start, the Indian team believed that they could yet win.
“We thought we should take wickets. Zack (Zaheer Khan) took one and then Bhajji (Harbhajan Singh), I took a couple, Ashwin one…So, all of us contributed. It was a team effort,” Yuvraj, who picked two wickets in the four overs he bowled.
On India’s inability to bat out 50 overs, Yuvraj said: “Well, we won the game and are now getting ready for the quarterfinals.”
Looking ahead to the quarterfinal game against Australia in Ahmedabad on March 24, Yuvraj said India could win the game.
“They won five games (in the group stage). I think, both teams are equal, but it all depends on who plays better on that particular day. We are aware of their weaknesses and I am sure we can win,” said Yuvraj.
When asked about Sachin Tendulkar’s decision to walk although umpire Steve Davis ruled him not out following an appeal by the West Indies, Yuvraj said, it was a “personal decision” and best left at that.
The West Indies skipper Darren Sammy hailed Tendulkar’s decision to walk as “brilliant”, but qualified it with a tongue-in-cheek remark that the maestro could afford to take such a decision.
“That was brilliant and it was a measure of the man. He is a gentleman, but after scoring over 17,000 runs he can afford to walk!” said Sammy.
Sammy expressed disappointment that his team yet again wasted a good start with a massive collapse when they lost eight wickets for 24 runs in a mere 12.3 overs against India.
“It was disappointing. We were given another opportunity, but didn’t capitalize on it. If that happens in the quarter-finals, then we would be going home.
“I think, we have the players of caliber. We need to keep our heads down and play the ball on its merit,” said Sammy.
On Yuvraj’s century, the Windies captain pointed out that the Indian batsman made the best of the two catches that were dropped early in his innings.
“Yuvraj played well, but he gave us opportunity twice and we didn’t take it. I was the culprit,” said Sammy referring to the catch he dropped at backward of point and then off his own bowling immediately after.
He praised fast bowler Ravi Rampaul for his five-wicket haul and said he was happy that the Trinidadian utilized the opportunity.
“Ravi was one of the positives we take out of this game. He came off the bench and grabbed the opportunity with both hands and this is what our team needs,” said Sammy.