Hyderabad: On a day when India’s ODI captain MS Dhoni flopped and disappointed his fans, Yuvraj Singh shone bright with a sparkling innings that brought back the memories of his past destructive self. But his brilliant knock couldn't save his team from losing the match.
Though Yuvraj, who last played for India in April 2014, missed century by a slight margin, it was a knock that will give the southpaw a lot of confidence. Yuvraj blasted 93 runs off 93 balls to help Punjab post 254 against Mumbai in their first match of the Vijay Hazare Trophy at the Gymkhana Ground.
However, Yuvraj's efforts were rendered ineffective as Mumbai opener Jay Bista and senior batsman Abhishek Nayar helped their team overcome the 255-run target with five wickets to remain to gather four crucial points in the Group A match.
Bista scored 92 while Nayar remained unbeaten on 44 as Mumbai cantered home in 45.1 overs.
What underlines Yuvraj’s efforts is the fact that no other Punjab batsman could post a fifty in their innings. Two other important scores were Mandeep Singh’s 41 and Manan Vohra’s 35.
Importantly, Yuvraj was ruthless in his run-a-ball innings as he hit 6 sixes and 6 fours in a dominant display of batting that every cricket fan wants him to do.
This innings has come at an opportune moment as Indian selectors are looking to finalise a squad for the 2016 World T20 that will be held in India. Since this was the first match of the tournament, Yuvraj has an opportunity to line himself up for a possible selection for the upcoming tour of Australia where India would be playing five ODIs and three Twenty20s as part of their preparations for the World T20.
India’s recent Twenty20 and ODI series loss at home against South Africa revealed some weaknesses in the Indian batting order and some people feel that Yuvraj, who will turn 34 on Saturday (December 12), is the answer for their woes.
Yuvraj was the man behind India’s successful 2011 World Cup campaign and he was adjudged Man of the Tournament for his all-round performance. But after that his career was stalled as he was diagnosed with cancer. He underwent treatment in the US and after recovering from the life-threatening disease, the Punjab lad returned to cricket and the national team. But with no success and was later dropped from the team.