Vijay Hazare Trophy 2018-19: Yuvraj Singh consistently batting Punjab out of trouble
Yuvraj Singh, one of the most experienced players on the domestic as well as the national circuit - is still delivering the goods he is expected to. The veteran southpaw has registered scores of 41, 48 and 96 in Punjab's three victorious matches during the ongoing Vijay Hazare Trophy. He was the second-highest scorer in each of the three victories out of Punjab's six matches so far - one of which was abandoned due to rain.
While Punjab's chances of entering the quarterfinals have narrowed down due to a tight format, they can still make it provided they win both their matches and some other results go their way. Although they began with two straight victories, their chances were hurt in a matter of five days, in which they lost two matches and were unable to play the second one due to rain. The only match in which Yuvraj could not get a start was in their match against Maharashtra - also the only innings he was sent in at No.5 rather than his usual No. 4 position.
In 5 innings so far, his season stats have been impressive. 217 runs coming at an average of 43.40 and a strike rate of 84.37. But what has been more impressive has been his ability to rotate the strike to go along with an impressive figure of 21 fours and 6 sixes. In most of the matches, he had to come in to bat with the team struggling with the loss of back to back wickets. Punjab's biggest setback came in their match against Mumbai, which was looking under their grabs till Punjab's lost their last eight wickets for just 59 runs. Yuvraj's dismissal after scoring a 30-ball 26 set off a collapse of sorts, tattering Punjab's smooth pursuit of a target of 246 runs until that point. Earlier in that match, Yuvraj took a wicket in his only bowling spell (of six overs) in the season so far.
While both, Punjab and Yuvraj cannot look too far ahead - their first focus should be on winning both their remaining matches in this domestic season's opening tournament. Missing a well-deserved century by just four runs in Punjab's victory over Railways in yesterday's game, Yuvraj looked at his imperious best, hitting six fours and five sixes. His state team's confidence in the champion cricketer has certainly paid off, and Yuvraj should aim for bigger knocks in all the opportunities he gets for his side. As of now though, he has certainly proved that the match-winner in him is still alive.