Yuvraj Singh marked his return to international cricket by taking India to a comprehensive victory, achieved with six wickets and two balls to spare. The knock was more impressive considering India were chasing a mammoth target of 202.
It was a boundary-hitting fest —fifty eight of them were hit by either side. But it was Yuvraj’s innings that stood out after 403 runs were scored in just 39.4 overs. Yuvraj finished unbeaten on 77 off 35, a knock that included eight fours and five sixes.
India had to come out all guns blazing and after the early loss of Rohit Sharma, cameos from Shikhar Dhawan, Suresh Raina and Virat Kohli kept the hosts in the chase. But by the end of the 13th over India still needed another 87 off 42 and that was when Yuvraj shifted gears seamlessly.
Consecutive sixes off the medium-pacer Clint McKay was only a precursor of what was to follow. The third ball of McKay’s over was sliding down leg-side and Yuvraj helped it to the fine-leg boundary. Eighteen runs were conceded in that McKay over and suddenly the momentum shifted. From here on Yuvraj was relentless in his pursuit of the target. Nathan Coulter-Nile was hit over extra-cover and mid-off for consecutive fours, while left-arm spinner Xavier Doherty’s short-ball was dispatched over long-on.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni played second fiddle as the pair added an unbeaten 102 (of which Dhoni made just 24) for the fifth wicket to take India home.
While Yuvraj’s blitzkrieg ensured he finished on the winnings side, Australia’s Aaron Finch too impressed with his array of shots on way to 89 off 52 balls, an innings that was peppered with 14 fours and a six. Debutant Nic Maddinson and Glenn Maxwell also helped push the run rate up. Maxwell made 27 off just 13 balls. And with Finch at the wicket till the 17th over Australia were always in with a shot for a 200-plus score, a target Yuvraj made a mockery of.