Yuvraj steals the thunder from defiant Ireland (Diary)

March 6th, 2011 - 10:10 pm ICT by IANS  

Bangalore, March 6 (IANS) With a five-wicket haul, Indian all-rounder Yuvraj Singh stole the thunder Sunday, restricting a defiant Ireland to 207 in the World Cup Group B match at the Chinnaswamy Stadium.

The left-arm Punjab leg-spinner set the jam-packed stands on fire when he caught and bowled Ireland’s new-found hero Kevin O’Brien for nine runs and then packed off Irish skipper William Porterfield, who was going strong at 75, belting six fours and a mighty six.

O’Brien,27, set a record by scoring the fastest World Cup hundred Wednesday and causing a dramatic upset victory over England in the previous game.

Though speedster Zaheer Khan made an early breakthrough with two wickets in first three overs, the restless fans had to wait for Yuvraj to turn the match in India’s favour by running through the Irish middle order, conceding a mere 31 runs in 10 overs.

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Standing ovation for both teams for anthem encore

Before the match began, thousands of fans filling up the stadium stood where they were for five-six minutes when the national anthems of both the teams were played in succession.

Though Indian fans were respectfully quiet when the Irish anthem was being rendered, about 300 Irish fans in the pavilion stands joined their 15-memer squad, singing ‘The Soldiers’ Song’ in unison.

And when Indian anthem was rendered, the entire stadium reverberated with ‘Jana Gana Mana…’ as thousand voices did an encore with the men in blue.

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Indian tri-colour all the way from flags to cheeks

The display of national spirit and patriotic fervour was at its best, with hundreds of fans proudly sporting the Indian tri-colour on both cheeks, while a few of them were sportive to have the Irish flag painted on side. Scores of greenhorn painters made a fast buck, charging Rs.10-20 for a few strokes of orange, white and green on rosy or chubby cheeks in a jiffy.

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Testing time for cops as gridlock chokes traffic flow

Even as die-hard fans were glued to the pitch watching India chase a paltry 207 for a win over minnows Ireland, about 200 traffic policemen had a harrowing time around the stadium regulating traffic, as hundreds of vehicles piled up on all four sides causing a gridlock in the downtown area and holiday crowds adding to their woes.

With the Metro rail project near the stadium taking away a chunk of scarce space, traffic jams and road rage outside the floodlit stadium eclipsed the excitement inside it.

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