Australia skipper George Bailey said the match-winning whirlwind knock from comeback man Yuvraj Singh proved to be the turning point of the high-scoring one-off Twenty20 International against India.
“Yuvraj’s innings was fantastic. He batted beautifully. Cleared the fence when he had to. It made it really difficult for us, so that was probably the turning point,” Bailey said at the post-match conference.
Having posted a massive 202-run target, Australia were in total control at one stage with Indian scorecard reading 80 for three in the ninth over. But flamboyant Yuvraj changed the scenario completely, smashing an unbeaten 35-ball 77, laced with eight fours and five sixes to steer the hosts to a six-wicket victory.
Bailey said despite being on top at one stage, his bowlers simply failed to contain Yuvraj.
“One or two catches on the fence there and it would have been different game. But he batted beautifully. We challenged him to hit the different parts of the ground and he accepted gleefully. It was a key innings,” said the captain.
“Certainly when he came to the wicket, I thought we were on top. We were really one or two wickets away from really busting the game open. He just snatched the momentum back,” Bailey added.
Asked when he thought the match was slipping away, the 31-year old Tasmanian said, “It was probably an over with four or five to go, where they got it (required run rate) back to nine or ten an over, which I thought on that wicket was manageable.
“Having said that, if we could have found a way to take a wicket, I think that would have changed everything, particularly Yuvraj’s wicket. If we could have forced a wicket, we were close. We had him caught that just cleared the fence a couple of times,” he elaborated.
Yuvraj was caught at the deep square leg boundary and Shane Watson, who jumped to reach the ball, had to the throw it in the air as he realised he was going to cross the rope.
He then quickly turned to catch the ball but in his second attempt, his foot was touching the rope.
Bailey felt that the huge total of 201 that they posted wasn’t enough and they were at least 15 to 20 runs short.
“We certainly had the opportunity to get 215-220. We were always probably one wicket down too many, right throughout the innings. Didn’t really allow Finchy (Aaron Finch) to explode the way he would have really liked. If only he had got support through the middle that we liked to give him,” he said.
With the seven-match ODI series starting from October 13, Bailey said his team has a lot of positives to take back from this game.
“As disappointing as it is to lose, there were some real positives to come out of it. Finchy, outstanding again. Nic Maddinson looked right at home, which was great to see. Maxi played beautifully. Xavier Doherty bowled really well but he bowled only three overs, which was tactical blunder on my part. It was the positives amongst the disappointment of losing,” he said.
“We obviously see positives in some of our players. We have Mitch Johnson back into the side after resting today. He will certainly provide a bit of impetus with the ball,” Bailey added.