Yuvraj Singh's six sixes: How it happened
It is said that no matter how great a sportsman is, there are moments in his life that define his career. Whatever he does that is remembered, but not cherished as much as that moment that comes to define him.
When you think of Yuvraj Singh for instance, you think of his stellar career, his Man of the Tournament performances in the 2011 World Cup, and his comeback from cancer to script a glorious career once again.
But none of these perhaps define Yuvraj as what happened on September 19, 2007 against England at the Kingsmead Oval during the inaugural edition of the ICC World T20.
On that day, Yuvraj did the unforgettable – something which will never be forgotten in cricketing folklore. He hit a young Stuart Broad for six sixes in an over!
The drama leading up to the over
India and England locked horns at the Kingsmead Oval in a do-or-die encounter in the first edition of the ICC World T20. India were batting first and the ever-dependent duo of Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir got India off to a rollicking start.
Sehwag had scored 68 off 52 balls and Gambhir 58 off 41 balls which meant that India were well placed at 155 for 3 in the 17th over when Yuvraj Singh came into bat.
Those were the early days of international T20 cricket and it seemed if India could somehow reach 200, they would have batted England out of the game.
Off that last ball of the Tremlett over, just after coming in, Yuvraj backed away and carved him through extra-cover for a boundary. David Lloyd in the commentator’s box was already celebrating India’s ‘boundary jamboree’, little knowing what was to come.
Andrew Flintoff bowled the next over and Yuvraj hit him for two glorious boundaries – one was carved over backward point while the other was a lofted hook that went to the square-leg boundary.
Flintoff was clearly not amused and heated words were exchanged between him and Yuvraj after the over ended. Flintoff had reportedly hurled expletives at Yuvraj, calling the boundaries ‘ridiculous shots’.
Speaking in an interview to Simi Garewal for Star World, Yuvraj later revealed how the conversation between the two went.
Recalling the incident, Yuvi said Flintoff told him, "‘Those were ******* ridiculous shots’, because I had hit him for two boundaries in that over. I said, ‘ **** you’. Then he said, ‘Excuse me?’ I said, ‘You heard what I said. And he said I will cut your throat off. I said you see this bat in my hand. You know where I gonna hit you with this bat?"
These words were enough to rile up Yuvraj enough for the next over as he faced up to Stuart Broad. Flintoff would soon realise the mistake he had committed.
The over that cannot be forgotten
And then Yuvraj did it. He did something that youngsters would dream of for ages and parents would tell her children about. He did something that made a generation adore him and take up their bats trying to emulate his magic.
On that day in Kingsmead, Yuvraj Singh hit Stuart Broad for six sixes off the 19th over.
Yuvraj was angry after Flintoff had a go at him and he wanted to make his point. India were comfortably placed and Yuvraj had the license to swing. He opened up his stance, raised his backlift and brought his magical bottom-hand into play. The rest, as they say, is history.
Off the first ball of that over of Broad, as Llyod said on air, Yuvraj just smoked the ball into the clouds and sent it into orbit over mid-wicket. If ever there was a big six, if ever there was a statement from an angry batsman, this was one.
The next was a full ball on his legs and Yuvraj nonchalantly flicked it for six over fine-leg. The third one was a little outside off and Yuvraj carved it over long on for a huge six.
He seemed to be a man on a mission now. Flintoff was on the square-leg boundary, with a wry smile of resignation on his lips, shaking his head in utter disbelief.
Broad then came in round the wicket but only managed to deliver a wide full-toss which Yuvraj gleefully hit over point for a six. Broad had now disappeared for four sixes and there was a mini-conference between the England players.
Broad was back over the wicket for the next ball but nothing changed for Yuvraj. He lofted him over mid-wicket for a ginormous six. It was 30 off 5 balls already in that over!
A hapless Broad delivered another full ball and Yuvraj hit him for another big six, this time over long-on.
This was the first time it had happened in T20 cricket. 50 off 12 balls was also a record brought up by Yuvraj! The balls were still in the clouds, trees and rivers. Even the umpire Simon Taufel couldn’t hide a smile at what he was seeing.
What happened after
In the very next over, Yuvraj hit Flintoff for a six and then was out caught at long-on trying to repeat it off the next ball.
But the damage had been done. Yuvraj had scored 58 off 16 deliveries and helped India to a commanding total of 218 for 4 off 20 overs. They had batted England out of the game.
Yuvraj departed Kingsmead to a standing ovation as Ravi Shastri excitedly cried on air: “He came in like thunder, goes like lightening!”
England in response put up a great fight and fell 18 runs short in the end, that over from Stuart Broad ultimately making the difference.
Yuvraj played another blinder against the Aussies in the semi-final when he scored 70 off 30 balls. India went on to win the inaugural edition of the ICC World T20 by beating Pakistan in the final.
When the experienced players had opted out, a young team led by Dhoni had stunned the world and done the impossible in the tournament. The crux of the team that would go on to win the World Cup four years later had already been formed. Yuvraj would also play a massive role in that tournament.