With over 300 ODI caps and over 8700 runs to his name, Yuvraj Singh is one of the greatest limited overs batsmen that has donned the Indian blue. In fact, we also believe he is a part of India’s all-time ODI XI. To celebrate his achievements, we look back at some of the most memorable knocks played by the southpaw through the course of his career in the 50-over format.
The First Half-Century (2000)
18-year-old Yuvraj Singh made his debut against Kenya in the ICC Knockout tournament back in 2000, but did not get a bat in the game. In the following game against Australia, the left-hander announced his arrival to international cricket in spectacular style, scoring an excellent 84 off 80 balls against Australia in the quarter-final. His knock, which included 12 boundaries, set up one of India’s best finest ODI victories!
The Lord’s Comeback Win (2002)
Yuvraj’s greatest contribution in the early years of his career was his outstanding knock in the Natwest Trophy final against in England in 2002.
With India’s score at 146 for 5 while chasing a mammoth target of 326, a loss seemed inevitable. But both Yuvraj and his partner Mohammad Kaif had other plans. A beautiful exhibition of big hitting and quick running saw the pair add 121 runs for the sixth wicket. After scoring a fantastic half-century, Yuvraj top-edged a sweep shot and was caught at fine-leg, but Kaif continued the resurgence and guided India home with two wickets and three balls to spare.
139 vs Australia in Sydney (2004)
At the age of 22, Yuvraj Singh scored his highest ODI score at the time, smashing an incredible 139 against Australia in Sydney. Filled with his some of his trademark drives and pull shots, he hit 16 fours and two sixes and along with VVS Laxman, added 213 runs for the fourth wicket. India posted 296 in their fifty overs, but Australia managed to chase down the revised score of 225 after rain interruption. Despite the result, Yuvraj was awarded the player of the match for his fabulous knock.
Blitz in Rajkot (2008)
If you had to pick out one knock from the Yuvraj Singh playlist to showcase his invincibility when in form, this would be the one. And he was battling back problems through the knock!
The southpaw dominated England in Rajkot in the first of the seven-match ODI series. After the fantastic start by Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir, Yuvraj unleashed on James Anderson and company, smashing his 9th ODI hundred in just 60 balls! He remained unbeaten on 138, a knock which included 16 boundaries and six maximums. India posted a mammoth 387 in their fifty overs, courtesy of Yuvraj and the top order contributions. England never managed to get going in their innings and were bowled out 229.
Knocking Australia out of the World Cup (2011)
Yuvraj Singh won the player of the series award in India’s victorious 2011 World Cup campaign. It was only after the competition of the tournament that it was revealed that the southpaw was battling through cancer and had managed to perform exceptionally well for his side despite the illness. A feat which extends beyond the bounds of the cricketing field.
His best knock in that World Cup was the half-century against Australia in the quarter-final at Ahmedabad. The defending champions had lost for the first time in a World Cup game in three editions, when they were defeated by Pakistan in the group stages. But Ricky Ponting’s side had a formidable record when it came to knockout encounters.
After Australia scored 260 on the back of their captain’s fine century, India got off to a good start, with Sachin Tendulkar and Gautam Gambhir scoring half-centuries. The loss of three crucial wickets – Gambhir, Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni swung the tie in the visitors’ favour and India needed somebody to hold fort and guide them home. Yuvraj put his hand up and did it in style, with Suresh Raina at the other end. He scored an unbeaten 57, which included eight boundaries, leading India to the semi-final against arch rivals Pakistan.