Saturday, Nov 22, 2014

Yuvraj Singh, hero of 2007 and ’11, flops in ’14

When Yuvraj Singh walked off after scoring just 11 off 21 balls, he looked a shadow of the batsman he can be (Reuters) When Yuvraj Singh walked off after scoring just 11 off 21 balls, he looked a shadow of the batsman he can be (Reuters)
Written by Nihal Koshie | Mirpur | Posted: April 7, 2014 3:00 am | Updated: April 7, 2014 12:28 pm

Not many teams or bowlers have been able to curtail the aggressive stroke-play of Yuvraj Singh in the shorter formats of the game. For he has the ability to clobber even good balls for sixes. (Express LOL: Some over the top Yuvraj jokes)

On Sunday, the man who walked out to bat looked like Yuvraj Singh. Unfortunately for India, he didn’t bat like the Yuvraj Singh of old. He is only 32, so it would be premature to say his best years are behind him. Yet, when he walked off after scoring just 11 off 21 balls, he looked a shadow of the batsman he can be. He did not hit a single four or a six. (Also Read: Stones pelted at Yuvraj’s Chandigarh home)

Credit for that lies with the Sri Lankan bowlers, who bowled brilliantly in the latter half of the innings. The wide yorkers were on target. Still, Virat Kohli’s brilliance still shone through — Kohli made 22 of the 29 runs that Nuwan Kulasekara conceded — keeping hopes of a 150 plus total alive until the final few overs.

At the end of the 16th over Virat was batting on 70 off 50. India were at 111 for 2. With wickets in hand, the time was ripe for the final assault, but it never came. Kohli faced just eight of the last 24 balls of the innings. Only 19 runs were scored off the last four overs as even MS Dhoni struggled, making just four off seven. (Photos: Fitting finale for retiring duo)

But things began to go wrong for India a bit earlier, in the eleventh over when Yuvraj walked in. The left hander got to seven off his first 12 balls, but the hope was that Yuvraj would turn it around at the death. However, Yuvraj couldn’t score a run in six off the eight deliveries he faced after the 16th over.

In all he consumed 10 dot balls. His dismissal summed up his struggles in the final and during the tournament, save for a half-century against Australia in a dead rubber. The first delivery of the 18th over from Kulasekara was a full toss. Yuvraj leaned into it at the final moment, after being a bit late to judge the length, and hit the ball straight to long-off.

As Yuvraj trudged off the field, one got the feeling that it was a wicket the Indians badly wanted.

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