'World-class' Yuvraj Singh delights Dravid

Published: Monday, July 2, 2007, 23:53 [IST]
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Belfast:India captain Rahul Dravid said Yuvraj Singh was one of the world's best one-day international players after seeing the left-hander lead the team to a 2-1 series win against South Africa.

Man-of-the-match Yuvraj made a dashing 61 not out in a six-wicket victory as India, chasing 149, finished on 152 for four with four balls to spare in a match reduced by rain to 31 overs per side at Stormont here Sunday.

The 25-year-old, who also bowls left-arm spin, had previously seen India to a six-wicket, series-levelling, win on Friday with 49 not out.

"Yuvraj's been exceptional," Dravid told reporters. "He's been a fantastic finisher for us. It's not an easy job to do under pressure and he does it really well.

"He's got the power, he's got the skill and he's matching that power and skill with temperament, mental strength and brains.

Scorecard of Final ODI against SA

"That's a deadly combination. He is up there among the best one-day players in the world without a doubt," he added after putting on 70 with Yuvraj following India's collapse to 38 for three.

Such was Yuvraj's impact that man-of-the-series Sachin Tendulkar, who made two 90s in three games as he became the first batsman to score 15,000 one-day international runs, before falling for single figures Sunday, invited his team-mate to share the award with him.

This was India's first one-day series success outside the sub-continent since 2002 when they beat England by two wickets in a final at Lord's - a match where Yuvraj made a vital 69.

"It feels very good," said Dravid, whose side face arch-rivals Pakistan in a one-dayer in Glasgow on Tuesday before embarking on a three-Test and seven limited overs international tour of England.

"To win a one-day series, against the number two side in the world, away from home, in conditions that suited them rather than us, in three close games, we acquitted ourselves very well.

"I'm really happy for the boys and I think it was great team effort where everyone contributed right through the three games.

"It was a good toss to win. But, having said that, the ball seamed around right through the day. We bowled well. You can win a toss but you've got to bowl in the right areas and our fast bowlers up front pitched the ball up and executed a lot of the plans we'd been speaking about over the past week or so.

"It meant a lot to the team. We've had a few disappointments lately," added Dravid following India's shock first round exit at the World Cup in March.

"It was nice to win this. Away from home, we haven't won a lot."

Yuvraj, who has appeared in 175 one-day internationals but only 19 Tests, said: "After the World Cup, it was a bad time for all the players. But beating a tough side outside of India gives us a lot of pride.

"Doing well in pressure situations, I feel I've done well before, and that keeps me going when I'm batting 'you've done well before, you can do it again'."


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