#SKFlashback: When Yuvraj Singh proved to be Australia's nightmare once more
When it mattered the most, Yuvraj turned it on at Rajkot.
The name of Yuvraj Singh always evokes emotion within fans. Not only has the cricketer given his supporters several memorable moments on the field, but his fight against cancer serves as an added reason for them to come out in unison and support the player.
After recovering from the dreaded disease in 2012, Yuvraj made a return to the World T20 in Sri Lanka later that year and put in a decent showing, considering he had just recovered from the illness. A lot of people felt at the time he needed some more time away from the game to get himself fully ready to play, but the selectors had other ideas in mind.
Following that mega event, he even played in the Tests against England as well as the ODIs before being dropped once again due to a string of poor scores.
He was recalled for the limited-overs series against Australia in October and if he had thought that in his comeback game he was to have an easy encounter to get things going on again, he was proven wrong by the visisting Australians.
MS Dhoni called it right at the toss and opted to field first. But Nic Maddinson and Aaron Finch soon made the Indian skipper think hard about that call, smashing the Indian bowlers to all parts in good batting conditions.
The duo put on 56 runs in 5 overs before the former was dismissed for 34. Finch, however, continued his assault even as India chipped in with wickets at crucial junctures. The hosts death bowling let them down once again and they ended up conceding 70 runs in the final six overs to help the Aussies post 201 for 7 in their 20 overs.
India needed a good start to their chase, but they didn't get one as Rohit Sharma fell, with the score at 12. The decision to promote Suresh Raina was a smart one, but it didn’t give India’s chase the impetus it needed and they found themselves at 50 for 2, when he was out for 19. Shikhar Dhawan, Player of the tournament at the Champions Trophy that year, also could not make a sizeable contribution, gone for 32 and when the team lost Virat Kohli for 27, more than 100 were still needed in nine overs.
The stage was set for Yuvraj with his trusted ally Dhoni to pull this one off. One of the things that champions relish is challenges, particularly when the chips are down and this was the kind of situation which a player of Yuvraj’s calibre would have liked to make an impression in.
He began slowly, trying to get himself some rhythm and knew at the back of his mind that if he didn’t get it early, it would only further surmount the pressure on his team. Off the 6th ball that he faced, he got his first boundary and that set him off in his way.
The job, however, was just beginning and India for the first time began to turn the tide their way in the 14th over when Yuvraj smashed 18 runs, that included two sixes and a four to bring the required rate down.
The following over, he hit Nathan Coulter-Nile for 13 runs and in the space of 12 deliveries, India had ensured they were back in the game big time.
But it was in the 17th over, where one saw Yuvraj unleash himself. Needing 49 in 4 overs, he smashed James Faulkner for two sixes before five wides from the bowler ensured the Men in Blue had got the match almost in their bag.
Over number 18 saw Yuvraj carry the impetus forward, as he fetched 14 and eventually with 7 needed off 6 balls, Dhoni was there to complete the formality and India had pulled off a game that looked gone until midway through their chase.
The game once was again an indicator that in limited-overs cricket, there really ws no safe target to defend and as the years have gone by, one has seen further proof of that statement.