Under-19 World Cup in 2000
Yuvraj Singh (right) with Ritender Singh Sodhi (left) and another player from the India's Under-19 World Cup squad in 2000.
The world saw first glimpse of this hard-hitting left-handed batsman from Punjab during the U-19 World Cup of 2000 held in Sri Lanka. He scored 203 runs in the tournament at a strike-rate of 103 and also took 12 wickets at 11.50. But, the most important innings that he played was his 25-ball 58 against Australia in the semi-final, a knock that included 5 fours and 5 sixes. He also played an important innings in the group stage where he outclassed New Zealand scoring 68 with the bat and then went on to pick 4 wickets for 36 runs. He won the Man of the Tournament award for his all-round performance as he helped Mohammad Kaif-led Indian team won the World Cup.
His performances immediately caught the attention of the selectors and he was selected in the national squad for the ICC Knockout Trophy the same year. On his part, Yuvraj also justified their faith in his abilities producing a match winning performance in the second match only for which he was also awarded the Man of the Match against Australia in the quarter-finals. His innings of 84 runs off 80 balls helped India qualify for the semi-finals sending the heavyweights Australia out of the tournament.
Natwest Trophy final in 2002
A bare-chested Sourav Ganguly waving his shirt on the Lord’s balcony is among the most memorable events of India’s cricketing history. And, Yuvraj Singh was one of the two reasons – another was Mohammad Kaif -- behind this historic come from behind victory in the tri-series final in England.
India were chasing 326 runs for victory and were in all sorts of trouble when half of their side was dismissed for 146 runs. Many had written India off while others were hoping against hope. But then two youngsters Yuvraj and Kair joined hands and turned the impossible into possible. The duo shared a 121-run partnership before Yuvraj was dismissed in the 42nd over. It was an innings filled with attractive and effective shots as he notched up a quick fire 69 off 63 balls which included 9 fours and a six. He kept the pace going and never allowed the required run rate to mount. Kaif hung in there and returned only after India had secured the trophy.
Here is a video of the match:
6 sixes in an over in the World T20 2007
‘Never make Yuvraj angry.’ This was probably the message that Yuvraj Singh wanted to send across. It all started with a heated argument between Yuvraj and England all-rounder Andrew Flintoff. In the hindsight, it was probably a mistake! The exchange of words charged Yuvraj up and poor Stuart Broad was caught in the cross-fire as he was hit for 6 sixes in an over. That was the sort of innings that a cricket follower would never ever forget. He smoked the ball to all corners of the Kingsmead ground at Durban. That innings still stands as the fastest half-century in international cricket. He got to his 50 in just 12 balls. It was due to his innings that India reached a massive total of 218 runs and managed to beat England.
It wasn’t the only innings by Yuvraj in that successful World Twenty20. In the semi-final against Australia, he played a swashbuckling innings of 70 runs in only 30 balls. He was ruthless against all the bowlers and collected boundaries at will. One of his sixes off Brett Lee over square leg travelled 119 metres – it was the longest in the tournament. India won the match by 15 runs and made it to the final. At the end India defeated Pakistan and became the first ever T20 champions of the world. Yuvraj Singh was adjudged the player of the tournament.
World Cup 2011
Like the 2007 World T20, Yuvraj was again the most important factor in India’s successful campaign in 2011 World Cup. He scored a total of 362 runs in the tournament at an average of over 90, including 4 half-centuries and a century. Out of his 8 innings, he remained unbeaten on 4 occasions. He also contributed with the ball picking a total of 15 wickets. Against Ireland, he scored a half-century and also grabbed 5 wickets, a feat that not many have achieved.
However, Yuvraj’s most important innings came in the quarter-final against Australia at Ahmedabad. He scored 57 important runs to help India chase the Australian total and make it to the semi-finals. And at the end he was deservedly at the crease when MS Dhoni hit the memorable six over long on to end India’s 28-year-long wait for the World Cup. Yet again Yuvraj was adjudged the player of the tournament, his third in major events.
Comeback in international cricket after cancer in 2012
When the whole nation was celebrating India becoming the world champions after 28 years, nobody knew that the person who was responsible for the big moment was carrying a fatal disease. But Yuvraj Singh tolerated all the pain and kept churning out match-winning performances one after the other.
After he was diagnosed with cancer, he underwent chemo treatments that causes the body to lose all the muscles and with that the strength. And, those who understood the severity of the disease and the effect chemo therapy on one’s body, never expected Yuvraj to play international cricket again. But Yuvi proved that they were wrong making a grand entry back in the international arena in a T20I game against Pakistan at Ahmedabad in 2012. He scored 72 runs off 36 balls that included 7 huge sixes reminding everyone of his class. His innings helped India reach a total of 192 runs. Despite Mohammad Hafeez’s fighting innings, India won the match by 11 runs and levelled the two-match series at one apiece.