Red hot Yuvraj comes to the party

Punjab left-hander shines with both bat and ball to help India level T20 series against Lanka

Red hot Yuvraj comes to the party

A day before the second India-Sri Lanka T20 match at Mohali, the Indian skipper had said Yuvraj Singh would come to party on his birthday, and how true it turned out!

The Punjab batsman grabbed three crucial wickets to check the run-spree of Sri Lanka and then came up with a masterly performance with the bat to shut the visitors out of the match.

The knock of unbeaten 60 underlined the growing stature of Yuvraj as an efficient finisher in the shorter versions of the game – one-dayers and Twenty20s.
“I feel very satisfied with the innings, not just that it came during my birthday but I was able to take India to victory. It feels good when you stay for the entire duration of a match and take your team to victory,” Yuvraj said.

It was an innings that revealed the full extent of Yuvraj’s talent, spanking shots through the covers, those pulls over mid-wicket, and then that latest addition to his arsenal, a block-hit that races down the ground like a laser-guided missile.

Potent weapon
It will not be out of place to think the knock as a nearly one-hour slide show of Yuvraj’s talent. In his effort to control Yuvraj, Sri Lankan skipper Kumar Sangakkara brought in his most potent weapon of the night – Lasith Malinga. But the Punjab left-hander tackled the fiery paceman in a matured way, tucking the rising deliveries to third-man using soft-hands, totally negating Malinga’s effect.

“Yuvraj played very well and it is tough to block a batsman like him. He has so many shots and it is tough to set a field for such a batsman.
“The only way to minimise the damage he can bring in is not to allow him to settle down, and frustrate him. But unfortunately this was Yuvraj’s day, and we could not do much about it,” said Sangakkara, who plays under Yuvraj’s captaincy for the Kings XI Punjab in the Indian Premier League.

Missing trick
Perhaps, Sangakkara missed a trick against Yuvraj by not bringing in a spinner in either Sanath Jayasuriya or Tillakaratne Dilshan as the southpaw’s tentativeness against tweakers is too well-known.

But the Punjab man said any strategy could not have made much difference to the outcome on the Saturday night.

“I have been batting well at nets all these while, but just that I was not able to translate that easiness in practice to runs in the middle.
“Gary Kirsten, the best coach I have played under, told me to keep focusing and not to worry about runs.

“Perhaps, I was determined today to push all that modest outings behind me.
“By God’s grace I was able to do that, and hopefully, I will be able to contribute more to Indian victories in this series and many more matches to come,” he said.
Now, let’s hope Yuvraj’s words too will come true, just like Dhoni’s prediction!

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