BANGALORE, March 6 (PTI): Yuvraj Singh produced an impressive all-round performance as title contenders India really toiled hard in order to pull-off a five-wicket win over a spirited Ireland side in a group B encounter of the World Cup, here today.
Yuvraj became the first player in the history of World Cup to take five wickets and score a half century (5/31 in 10 overs and 50 not out) as India huffed and puffed on their way to a modest victory target of 208 in 46 overs.
After restricting Ireland to a modest 207, courtesy his five-for, the southpaw batted sensibly on a slow track for his half century as it came in 75 balls and had only three fours in it. India now have five points from three matches having notched up their second win.
Put into bat after Mahendra Singh Dhoni won the toss, Ireland lost two early wickets before rival captain William Porterfield capitalised on an early reprieve to rescue his team.
But Yuvraj triggered a collapse that saw Ireland lose their last eight wickets for 85 runs. The giant-killers, who stunned England in their last match at the same venue, tried to make a match of it, but India maintained their composure to log full points from the tie.
When India batted, Yuvraj walked in after the hosts lost the important wicket of Sachin Tendulkar, but the left-hander was soon left to rue as a misunderstanding between him and Virat Kohli led to the latter�s dismissal.
When Dhoni joined Yuvraj at the halfway stage, India needed another 108 runs for victory, and Ireland seemed all pumped up, sensing another upset.
But such thoughts were soon put to rest as the two experienced campaigners added 67 runs off 99 balls for the fifth wicket to put India on course. The duo didn�t take any undue risk as the asking rate was always under control and the strip didn�t allow free-flowing strokeplay.
Left-arm spinner George Dockrell dimissed Dhoni with India still 41 runs shy, but Yusuf Pathan, in his customary fashion, clobbered the bowler for 16 runs in the same over to take India within sniffing distance of victory.
A sequence of 0, 4, 6, 6 took the pressure off Yuvraj who spent 108 minutes en route to his 47th ODI half century.
There was no twist in the tale after that as India completed the task with four overs to spare.
Earlier, Porterfield (75 off 104 balls) along with Niall O�Brien (46 off 78) put on 113 runs off 148 balls for the third wicket to put his team back on track, but the skipper�s dismissal at a crucial juncture allowed India to fight back into the match.
During his 146-minute stay in the middle, Portefield hit six boundaries and a six. Alex Cusack made 24 of 30 balls, but overall, the Irish line-up found Yuvraj too difficult to handle on a track where batting never looked the most hardest thing in the world, especially in the first innings.
Porterfield c Harbhajan b Yuvraj 75
Stirling b Zaheer 0
Joyce c Dhoni b Zaheer 4
O�Brien run out 46
White c Dhoni b Yuvraj 5
K O�Brienc and b Yuvraj 9
Cusack lbw b Yuvraj 24
Mooney lbw b Yuvraj 5
Johnston lbw b Munaf 17
Dockrell c Dhoni b Zaheer 3
Rankin not out 1
Extras: (LB-4, W-8, NB-6) 18
Total: (all out in 47.5 overs) 207
Fall of wickets: 1-1, 2-9, 3-122,
4-129, 5-147, 6-160, 7-178, 8-184,
Bowling: Zaheer 9-1-30-3, Munaf 4.5-0-25-1 Yousef 7-1-32-0, Harbhajan 9-1-29-0, Chawla 8-0-56-0, Yuvraj 10-0-31-5.
Sehwag c & b Johnston 5
Tendulkar lbw b Dockrell 38
Gambhir c Cusack b Johnston 10
Kohli run out 34
Yuvraj not out 50
Dhoni lbw b Dockrell 34
Yosuf not out 30
Extras: (lb 4, w 5) 9
Total: (5 wickets; 46 overs) 210
Fall of wickets: 1-9, 2-24, 3-87, 4-100, 5-167.
Bowling: Rankin 10-1-34-0, Johnston 5-1-16-2, Dockrell 10-0-49-2, Mooney 2-0-18-0, Stirling 10-0-45-0, White 5-0-23-0, O�Brien 1-0-3-0, Cusack 3-0-18-0.